COMCAST DOMINATING? Merger may dominate market for local political advertisers
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/22/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
If Comcast's proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable is approved, according to industry sources, the Democrat Party-leaning cable television and Internet service could very well dominate the market for local political advertising. The merger's potential impact on the $5.4 billion local cable advertising market, including political advertising, has been largely absent from the public eye. Both companies have maintained a low profile while seeking approval from regulators at the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission.
If Comcast's proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable is approved, according to industry sources, the Democrat Party-leaning cable television and Internet service could very well dominate the market for local political advertising.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Seeking to alleviate concerns about the deal, Comcast announced last February that it would shed about three million subscribers, bringing its combined customer base with TWC to 30 million.
Some sources claim that the 30 million figure does not reflect the company's growing involvement in the local advertising market.
Other providers such as Verizon and DISH have outsourced their ad sales to Comcast and TWC. The combined companies could reach as many as 50 million households with ads sold as a result of these "rep deals."
Like other cable companies, Comcast owns two minutes of advertising per hour on every network that they contract with. These ads are seen at the local level. The companies use some of that time to advertise their own wares and sell the rest to national, regional, and local advertisers.
If the merge is successful, Comcast would own 80 percent of the cooperative through which national advertisers purchase airtime at the local level, 54 percent of the cooperatives though which regional advertisers purchase this airtime and 69 percent of the market through which local advertisers purchase airtime. Locally owned businesses are afraid that this consolidation will give greater power to regional and national businesses.
Politicians consider these two minute chunks particularly valuable because they can "geo-target" voters down to the county or congressional district. By extension, political campaigns could be priced out of the local market -- or forced to purchase time for a larger region thus diluting their ability to geo-target.
Some say that the situation is "potentially rife with abuse" because of the relatively unregulated nature of the local advertising industry and the political leanings of Comcast.
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