In Effort to Protect Small & Mid-Sized Cable Operators, Viamedia Urges FCC For Conditions on Comcast-TWC Merger Warns of Merged Company's Dominance of Spot Cable Advertising Market, Harm to Cable Companies, Small Businesses and Consumers
LEXINGTON, Ky., Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Viamedia, the television industry's leading independent provider of outsourced local television advertising services on behalf of cable companies, yesterday submitted a filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging the Commission to mandate conditions on the proposed merger of Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable (TWC). The filing describes the Spot Cable Advertising landscape and discusses the anti-competitive harms that would result under the current terms of the proposed merger, adversely affecting cable companies, small businesses and consumers across the country.
"Comcast's acquisition of TWC would result in control of approximately $4.5 billion of the $5.4 billion national Spot Cable Advertising market," the filing reads. "The consolidation would result in one less Spot Cable Advertising Representation firm in many U.S. markets and would adversely affect small businesses that place Spot Cable Advertising by increasing advertising rates. These increased rates ultimately harm American consumers as advertisers are forced to pass along the higher cost for advertising."
"We are big proponents of the power of Spot Cable Advertising and the original construct of NCC for national advertisers, Interconnects for regional advertisers and third party representation for local advertising," said Mark Lieberman, President and CEO, Viamedia. "However, our concern is that this foundation for cable advertising is fast becoming the springboard for the future of all of TV advertising and will be controlled by one company. We're asking the FCC to take a close look at the Comcast-TWC deal and make vital changes to avoid serious harm to smaller cable companies, local advertisers and consumers."
The filing details that Comcast will end up controlling 80% of NCC, 54% of all regional Interconnects and Spot Cable Advertising into 49 million of the 69 million cable TV homes (through ownership of its own subscribers and third party representation deals with its own competitors).
The filing further lays out a number of structural conditions to the merger with the goal of protecting the public interest, encouraging fair competition and eliminating the inherent conflict of interest between Comcast-TWC's being in the third party representation business and its ownership of NCC and controlling a majority of Interconnects. The conditions include:
- Prohibiting Comcast from controlling, representing or managing Interconnects;
- Requiring that Comcast transfer majority control over NCC;
- Requiring Comcast to transfer either its own or TWC's Spot Cable Advertising Representation firm business;
- Prohibiting Comcast from representing Spot Cable Advertising for the subscribers Comcast or TWC is transferring to Charter and Spinco.
Viamedia concludes that these conditions will ensure that all Interconnects will be open, cable companies will have a choice of third party rep firms and there will be the needed checks and balance for advertising rates.
Viamedia outlined similar concerns and conditions in a filing to the New York Public Service Commission on August 8, 2014.
Headquartered in New York City, NY and Lexington, KY, Viamedia is a leading provider of outsourced local advertising sales services. The company specializes in selling DMA-based advertising to local, regional and national advertisers on behalf of U.S. cable and telecommunications service providers, utility companies and municipalities. For more information on Viamedia, visit www.viamediatv.com