Members’ New FCC Filings Call For Sinclair-Tribune Merger To Be Denied
Today members of the Coalition to Save Local Media announced their filings to the Federal Communications Commission in response to last week’s Sinclair Broadcasting-Tribune Media filing that failed to show how the proposed merger is in the public interest. As a group, the Coalition to Save Local Media continued to call on the FCC to deny the merger.
“ACA believes the FCC should deny the Sinclair-Tribune transaction, because it would both violate existing FCC rules and fail to demonstrate that it would serve the public interest. Even if this massive TV station transaction were not unlawful on its face, it is a major threat to consumers and competition,because it would create a broadcasting behemoth with unprecedented control over both the national and local TV markets, leading to higher prices and fewer choices,” American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
ACA’s filing can be found here.
“Competitive carriers spent significant capital purchasing additional spectrum in the 600 MHz incentive auction, and continue to use significant resources to work with stakeholders to ensure a safe, timely, and an efficient post-auction repack,” said CCA President and CEO Steven K. Berry. “If the Sinclair-Tribune transaction is approved as contemplated, competitive carriers may be subject to unwarranted costs and negatively impacted by any disruption to the repack process to the detriment of consumers.”
CCA’s filing can be found here.
“Sinclair has failed to explain how this multi-billion-dollar merger could possibly be in the public interest,” said Ed Black, CCIA President and CEO. “That’s supposed to be the requirement the FCC is charged with overseeing. It’s a concern that a merger that would be so harmful to rural areas, independent news stations and citizens could even be considered.”
CCIA’s filing can be found here.
“Sinclair and Tribune have confirmed their true motivation for the transaction: to charge higher retransmission fees,” said Jeff Blum, DISH Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel. “Rather than proving this transaction would result in any benefits to the public, they seek to gain greater leverage, resulting in higher prices for consumers. Sinclair and Tribune have failed to meet their burden to prove the transaction is in the public interest, and we continue to call on the FCC to deny this merger.”
DISH’s filing can be found here.
“Sinclair and Tribune have offered little justification for their request to become a broadcasting behemoth and have failed to address the substantial harms this merger would have on consumers – in particular those consumers living in our country’s most sparsely populated rural areas,” said Steve Pastorkovich, Vice President—Technology and Business Development at NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. “In their Opposition to the Petitions to Deny, Sinclair and Tribune abandoned their inaccurate claim that the merger would result in ‘greater value’ for video providers, as the record in this proceeding clearly shows that video and broadband providers, particularly small ones serving rural consumers, will be harmed if this merger is approved. Sinclair and Tribune also failed to address the effects the merger would have on consumers who are out of range of over-the-air broadcast signals, and who must pay to receive broadcast channels. The FCC must reject this merger. If it does not, consumers – especially rural consumers – will pay the price in the form of higher fees for broadcast content.”
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association’s filing can be found here.
“The proposed Sinclair Broadcasting/Tribune Media merger will only exacerbate the already high cost of video content and impede ITTA members’ ability to offer greater competition in the video distribution marketplace,” said Genevieve Morelli, President of ITTA – the Voice of America’s Broadband Providers. “The Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice, and Congress should review this proposed merger through the lens of the entire video and broadband ecosystem and reject it as not in the public interest.”
“Sinclair and Tribune have failed to show any positive, transaction-specific public interest benefits from the proposed merger, and fail to address the significant public interest harms,” said Yosef Getachew, Policy Fellow at Public Knowledge. “If approved, the merger would result in fewer diverse and independent programming options and higher cable prices for consumers. The transaction could also hinder efforts to close the digital divide. With this in mind, the Commission should block the proposed merger.”
Public Knowledge’s filing can be found here.
Michael Fletcher, President & CEO, RIDE TV, said, “We believe that putting so much control of the public airwaves in the hands of one company can have a negative effect on consumer choice, diversity of programming, and other issues. The 30 million Americans who ride horses are watching to see how the FCC and Congress vet this merger.”
“The Sinclair Broadcasting-Tribune Media merger stinks of politics at its worst,” said Charles Herring, President of One America News Network, “If the FCC allows this mega-merger to go through it will leave Sinclair-Tribune with excessive and unbalanced market power, hurting both consumers and independent media voices. Sinclair-Tribune has failed to show how their merger is in the public interest and should be denied.”
Daphna Ziman, Cinémoi President and Co-Founder, said, “Yet again, diverse content is under considerable threat in this race to consolidation, and the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger will be another behemoth oligopoly. This massive merger would stifle local and independent media voices – for example at women and minority owned networks like Cinémoi – and put Sinclair’s profits ahead of viewers. We cannot give Sinclair more unchecked leverage to extract higher prices that hurt consumers and limit or control content. No one can afford to spectate as Sinclair forges to the finish line in their race to consolidation, leaving viewers and independent programmers behind.”
RIDE TV signed on to a filing with other independent networks including Cinemoi, AWE – A Wealth of Entertainment, One America News Network, and TheBlaze. The filing can be found here.
“Sinclair historically has bought local broadcast TV stations, fired local sports reporters, and replaced local staff with corporate multitaskers at its East Coast headquarters,” said Brian Hess, Acting Executive Director of Sports Fans Coalition. “Tribune has legendary sports journalists, including at its flagship Chicago station, WGN-TV. If past is prologue, fans of local high school, college, and professional sports coverage in Tribune markets should be very concerned. Sinclair failed to demonstrate that its local sports coverage is any better than Tribune’s or the broadcast industry generally. It failed to show that this merger is in the public interest by expanding fans’ access to the games they love. This merger would be bad for sports fans. The FCC should throw a flag on this deal.”
Sports Fans Coalition filing can be found here.