CCIA Says Charter-Univision Dispute Illustrates Problems Of Media Consolidation

BY Heather Greenfield
February 1, 2017

Washington — Charter Communications cable customers have lost access to Univision’s networks after months of unsuccessful negotiations, according to various news reports. Univision has charged Charter with breach of contract and said that Charter has rejected its good-faith efforts at a solution.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has spoken out on antitrust issues for more than four decades. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“Unfortunately, this is the future that we predicted when we opposed recent consolidation attempts in the cable industry. Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable reduced competition, which makes it easier for Charter to strong-arm Univision and similarly situated programmers. This anticompetitive increase in bargaining power is just one unfortunate manifestation of increased consolidation.  Whether charging websites for an Internet fast lane, discriminating against connected third-party devices, or bullying independent programmers who rely on Charter for access to consumers in key markets such as Los Angeles and New York, cable industry consolidation increases the incentives and ability for cable companies, such as Charter, to engage in anticompetitive practices.

“In this particular case, market consolidation has clearly demonstrable effects on the lives of real people. Given that Univision, the U.S.’s leading Spanish-language programmer, carries key Spanish language news programs, Spanish speakers in Charter’s footprint will be deprived of news coverage at such an eventful time. This is just one example of a real world harm of increased consolidation in the cable industry.”

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