For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, June 27, 2018 – American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding the Department of Justice’s decision to require Disney to sell 22 Fox Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) in order to move forward with the purchase of the remainder of the Fox assets:
“The American Cable Association applauds the Department of Justice for conditioning Disney’s acquisition of Fox assets on Disney’s divestiture of Fox’s 22 Regional Sports Networks (RSNs). After the deal was announced, ACA raised concerns with the DOJ that the proposed combination would give Disney control of these critical programming networks that could be bundled with its other national and local programming assets to harm consumers in many markets, particularly because Disney would control so much key national and regional sports programming rights. ACA suggested that Disney’s divestiture of Fox’s RSNs would mitigate the primary harm of the deal. ACA is pleased to see the DOJ agreed with our concerns. As the DOJ Complaint explains, the combination of Disney’s ESPN networks with Fox’s RSNs would likely substantially lessen competition resulting in higher prices paid by pay television providers and their customers.
“DOJ’s action should convince Comcast to abandon its own pursuit of the Fox programming assets. It already has too much market power by virtue of being both the nation’s largest cable operator and a significant owner of national, regional and local programming. And its ability to harm to rivals has only increased with the recent expiration of FCC conditions that were put in place in 2011 to address this concern. Comcast’s acquisition of even more programming is a bridge too far for competition and consumers.”
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 800 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit: https://acaconnects.org/