It’s the holiday season, and the Federal Communications Commission has been in a giving mood for the largest media companies. Over the past few months, the FCC has adopted a number of items that have relaxed or eliminated rules around media ownership. On their own, these actions allow for the largest media companies to further consolidate, drowning out diverse, independent, and local voices in the marketplace. However, the FCC’s actions have also particularly benefited one broadcast company -- Sinclair -- and its effort to merge with Tribune.
Today, Walt Disney Co. announced a deal to acquire significant programming assets from 21st Century Fox Inc. The deal would unite two substantial content companies and mark the second media mega-merger to face antitrust scrutiny next year. Public Knowledge contends that this merger may pose harms to competition and consumers by further consolidating must-have programming assets and major motion picture studios, and ultimately leading to consumers paying higher prices for video content.
Today, Public Knowledge President Gene Kimmelman submitted a statement to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition, and Consumer Rights. His statement in the December 13 hearing on “The Consumer Welfare Standard in Antitrust: Outdated or a Harbor in a Sea of Doubt?” contends we need more than antitrust law to promote market competition that benefits consumers.
Amazon and Google are putting consumers in the middle of a corporate battle between the two technology giants. According to the reports, Google has blocked YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show, and will be removing its YouTube app from Amazon’s Fire TV. This is in response to Amazon refusing to carry certain Google hardware products in its store. Public Knowledge contends that this behavior by major platforms jeopardizes consumer choice.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes eliminating the mandatory reporting form (“Form 325”) the FCC uses to track cable prices and subscriber information. The FCC is required by law to report annually to Congress on both cable pricing and competition in the cable industry.