Is there Still an Antitrust Division At FTC?: The Fox, NBC, Time Warner “NewCo” Deal

Shouldn’t Antitrust alarm bells be ringing about the new online video service being launched by NBC/Universal, News Corp./Fox, and Time Warner/AOL/ We think so. Time Warner’s interactive ad delivery subsidiary––is handling “all the advertising for the new joint venture video service. It will provide display and video ad management and fulfillment for the new video site and for the dedicated video player embedded on that site as well as across its distribution partners,” noted The NewCo service will be, says Peter Chernin, News Corp pres. …”the largest advertising platform on Earth.” Adding to what should be serious scrutiny are the deals involving such content partners as Microsoft.

An alliance between NBC, Fox and Time Warner. Do the sleeping watchdogs at the FTC–or for that matter, the Democratically-controlled Congress–ever wake up? Or are they too busy dreaming about their next job in show biz? It’s time to get serious about both the structure and role of the online advertising business, especially as it fully embraces video distribution.

PS: Here’s a little something to help the FTC folks along: “Sales of the venture’s advertising inventory, adjacent to thousands of hours of video programming and spread across a network of distribution partners, will be shared between the new alliance and its media partners.” Oh, and since Google also owns 5% of Time Warner’s AOL unit and is a partner with Fox/News Corp. for MySpace/Fox Interactive for ad sales, we think such an investigation would be very interesting!

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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