Apollo’s Cox Media Continues Unreasonable Retransmission Demands as It Pushes for FCC Approval of TEGNA Transaction
WASHINGTON, DC – The American Television Alliance (ATVA) issued a statement responding to Apollo Global Management-owned Cox Media Group’s blackouts and threats of blackouts this holiday season. The broadcaster has already pulled its local television stations from DISH customers this holiday season. And its unreasonable demands nearly led to a blackout of local broadcast stations for Verizon customers across major media markets. This all comes amid a push by Apollo’s Cox Media for the FCC to approve its highly complicated and unusual investment in the purchase of TEGNA’s television stations by another Wall Street giant, Standard General.
“The unreasonable demands by broadcasters like Apollo’s Cox Media could not come at a worse time for families who rely on their local stations for news during the holiday season and gather together to watch holiday programming and their favorite NFL teams ahead of playoffs,” said ATVA spokesperson Jessica Kendust. “Instead of being on its best behavior as Apollo’s Cox Media pushes for FCC approval of its investment, Apollo’s Cox Media has proven it is willing to disenfranchise viewers who have done nothing wrong while the FCC is watching closely. This suggests that worse could be yet to come when the spotlight is removed.”
“There is a bigger problem here,” added Kendust. “The ATVA has warned that this deal poses a more significant threat to consumers because the pending transaction will ‘intertwine’ Apollo’s Cox Media, Standard General, and TEGNA in a way that permits the parties to collude—resulting in higher prices all around. DISH, an ATVA member, says that Apollo’s Cox Media has already attempted to negotiate for TEGNA’s stations.”
“We understand that Standard General has offered conditions to the FCC designed to address some of the harms we identified. But the reality is that the proposed investment increases the parties’ incentive and ability to collude in ways unaddressed by Standard General’s offer. The FCC should look closely at the transaction and do whatever it takes to prevent big broadcast from colluding.”