Industry News – 4-13-18

The federal government’s star witness in the AT&T-Time Warner merger case took the stand this week and threw a sizeable number before the court as to the consumer cost of the union. UC Berkeley professor and economist Carl Shapiro testified that consumers would pay $571 million more in year 2021 if the merger were allowed to transpire, based upon several factors including the coordination with Comcast-NBC Universal to block programming from emerging online distributors. The companies’ counsel Daniel Petrocelli criticized the Shapiro analysis by noting, among other things, that it did not factor in real world negotiations or current longer-term contracts that prevent price increases in upcoming years. Stay tuned.