Sinclair, 5 other broadcast television companies resolve DOJ lawsuit
The Department of Justice announced it has reached a settlement with Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., Raycom Media Inc., Tribune Media Company, Meredith Corporation, Griffin Communications, and Dreamcatcher Broadcasting LLC to resolve a suit alleging the companies shared non-public competitively sensitive info with their broadcast television competitors.
The DOJ also filed proposed settlements that would resolve the competitive harm alleged in the lawsuit, the DOJ said.
“The unlawful exchange of competitively sensitive information allowed these television broadcast companies to disrupt the normal competitive process of spot advertising in markets across the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Advertisers rely on competition among owners of broadcast television stations to obtain reasonable advertising rates, but this unlawful sharing of information lessened that competition and thereby harmed the local businesses and the consumers they serve.”
The DOJ alleges the companies agreed in certain metropolitan areas to exchange revenue pacing information or engaged in the exchange of other non-public sales information.
Pacing is a comparison of the revenue from a certain time period to the same time period the previous year and indicates how well the station is performing in the market.
The DOJ alleges the exchange of pacing information harmed the competitive price-setting process.
The settlement requires the companies to stop direct or indirect sharing of competitively sensitive information. They also must cooperate in the investigation and adopt antitrust compliance and reporting measures.
The term of the settlement is seven years.
The DOJ provided the following information on the companies:
- Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., a Maryland corporation with headquarters in Hunt Valley, Maryland, owns or operates 130 television stations across 87 markets. In 2017, it reported revenue in excess of $2.7 billion.
- Tribune Media Company is a Delaware corporation; its headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois. It owns or operates 41 television stations in 31 markets and had over $670 million in revenue in 2017.
- Raycom Media Inc., a Delaware corporation, has its principal place of business in Montgomery, Alabama. It owns or operates 55 television stations in 43 markets and had over $670 million in revenue in 2017.
- Meredith Corporation, an Iowa corporation, has its principal place of business in Des Moines, Iowa. It owns or operates 17 television stations in 12 markets and had over $1.7 billion in revenue in 2017.
- Griffin Communications is an Oklahoma corporation; its principal place of business is in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It owns or operates four television stations in two markets and exceeded $60 million in revenue in 2017.
- Dreamcatcher Broadcasting, LLC, a Delaware corporation, has its headquarters in Santa Monica, California. It owns or operates three television stations in two markets and had over $50 million in revenue in 2017.
The public has 60 days to submit written comments on the proposed settlement.
Send any comments to
Owen Kendler, Chief, Media, Entertainment, and Professional Services Section
U.S. Department of Justice
450 Fifth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530