DOJ Settles with Stations over Sharing of Ad Rates

The Justice Department says they have settled with six media companies that they say broke the law by "unlawful sharing of competitively sensitive" information on advertising.

The DOJ said that Sinclair, Raycom, Tribune, Meredith, Griffin and Dreamcatcher shared the infothat reduced competition and harmed local business.

“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 proposed settlement will require the media companies to cooperate in the DOJ’s ongoing investigation, and to adopt rigorous antitrust compliance and reporting measures to prevent similar anticompetitive conduct in the future.

In other words, while local companies got played, the media groups are just getting a slap on the wrist.