GEOFFREY MANNE ON AT&T/TIME WARNER MERGER IN LA TIMES
Geoffrey Manne was quoted in the LA Times on the risk that AT&T would use the merger to keep certain programming away from rivals:
The government’s lawsuit argued that AT&T would use its market clout to keep Time Warner programming, such as CNN, HBO and sports programming on TNT and TBS, away from its rivals. But analysts say that is unlikely because TV programmers make more money by selling their programming to as many outlets as possible.
“They are going to have a hard time proving that in the courts,” said Geoffrey A. Manne, executive director of the International Center for Law and Economics in Portland, Ore. “There are so many factors that make that theory unlikely — it’s a stretch.”
The Justice Department also argues that the merger could stymie technology innovations, including the expansion of streaming services. The government argues that AT&T would have an incentive to thwart Netflix, Google Amazon.com and other innovators because they compete with AT&T’s satellite TV service, DirecTV, and its U-Verse service.