Sep 28, 2018

DOJ antitrust chief raises concerns about local news

Makan Delrahim. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department’s top antitrust regulator said Friday that he has grown concerned about changes to the local media market in an age of increased consolidation and ad revenue lost to platforms like Facebook and Google.

Why it matters: Facebook and Google have been squarely in the sights of publishers for years, who would likely be pleased by some sort of action on the issue from DOJ.

What he’s saying: DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim said at an Axios event Friday that the recent, failed purchase of Tribune stations by Sinclair Broadcast Group “as well as some of the concerns that were raised both by members of Congress and other consumer groups, made me think about how has viewership changed.”

  • He also said he was interested in the way the market for advertising had been altered by the rise of new online ad players.
  • DOJ will examine these issues in greater depth at a forthcoming workshop that Delrahim said "may present us with new evidence and new thinking that may affect how we analyze” cases in this area.

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