Today, the Coalition to Save Local Media will send letters to each Attorney General in a state that contains a media market with a Sinclair Broadcast Group or Tribune Media station calling on them to look further into the serious issues surrounding the competitive effects of the proposed Sinclair-Tribune transaction and to join the Department of Justice investigation into the companies’ proposed merger.
In the letter, which can be read in full here, the Coalition to Save Local Media writes:
“This merger would result in higher prices and less choice for local content. In the face of these demonstrable harms, the Applicants have failed to provide evidence that this transaction will generate any cognizable benefits. For these reasons, among others, we believe this transaction must be denied….
“This merger is not in the interest of American consumers. Sinclair and Tribune have yet to demonstrate a single consumer benefit that would result from the merger. The truth is that as a result of this merger, consumers would have fewer choices for local content and be forced to pay higher prices. Sinclair has promised Wall Street that it will dramatically increase the retransmission consent fees that it charges to cable and satellite companies, and, as the Department of Justice has previously recognized in its work on prior mergers such as Nexstar-Media General, those higher costs will ultimately be borne by consumers….
“Thus far, the Applicants have not explained how they plan to comply with the FCC’s current media ownership rules if this transaction is approved. Just weeks ago, the top Sinclair executive said that the company did not plan to sell any local stations, even though the combined company would far exceed existing FCC ownership limits and violate well-established DOJ precedent. Sinclair-Tribune offers no specifics on how they will comply with the law.”
Versions of this letter will be sent to Attorneys General in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin.