The groups argue that the pending merger of AT&T and Time Warner “would create a media and telecommunications giant with the ability to use its assets to dominate markets, hold back competition, and harm consumers by inflating prices and impeding innovative new video services.”
The News Media Alliance, which represents leading newspaper publishers, is seeking an anti-trust exemption from Congress that will allow publishers to negotiate jointly with the digital giants on terms under which they can carry the publishers’ content. Today, the NMA said, “news organizations are limited with disaggregated negotiating power against a de facto duopoly that is vacuuming up all but an ever-decreasing segment of advertising revenue.”
After eight months of scrutiny by the Justice Department’s anti-trust regulators, the fate of the merger is still unclear. Among the reasons: Trump’s nominee to run the DOJ’s anti-trust division is still awaiting Senate confirmation and concerns that White House may weigh in given Trump’s antipathy toward CNN, one of Time Warner’s prized possessions.