A judicial panel has consolidated at least 18 antitrust suits against five TV station groups for allegedly colluding on spot pricing in the federal district court in Chicago. The defendants, which include Tribune, Sinclair and in some cases Gray, Hearst, Nexstar and Tegna, had pushed for the consolidation. The proliferatng suits are an outgrowth of a Justice Department review of the merger of Sinclair and Tribune, which was scuttled after the FCC found evidence of misrepresentation by Sinclair. (Free registration required.)
Gray had sold the station to Sherry Nelson and her daughter Sara Jane Ingram in 2014 after stripping the station of its NBC affiliation.
The American Cable Association wants to make sure that Gray is not allowed to raise the retrans fees of stations before spinning them off to other buyers in its purchase of Raycom’s TV stations. That’s according to an ACA filing at the FCC.
Sales to Scripps, Tegna and Lockwood complete the divestitures designed to bring Gray’s $3,6 billion merger with Raycom into compliance with the FCC’s local ownership rules. Combined with last week’s sale of WSWG Albany, Ga., proceeds from the latest spin offs total $235.5 million.
A drop in national and political ad revenue from the same period in 2010 was offset by a 4% gain in local advertising, an 8% gain in retransmission consent money and a 56% gain in Internet ad revenue.
The strong fourth-quarter results marked the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth for the seven pure-play broadcasting companies and eight integrated media companies tracked by the investment bank M.C. Alcamo & Co.