I have written numerous times about how most anti-trust actions are initiated for the benefit not of consumers but of industry competitors. The incredible claim that Microsoft's giving away free applications with its OS somehow hurts consumers is just the most famous such example.
Now we face the specter of anti-trust review of the XM-Sirius satellite radio deal. All you need to know is that the National Association of Broadcasters, who represent the terrestrial competitors of satellite radio, are lobbying hard for the deal to be rejected. Nearly every line of the statement is hilarious, but this one caught me:
the FCC authorized satellite radio, it specifically found that
would be served best by two competitive nationwide systems. Now,
with their stock prices at rock bottom and their business model in
because of profligate spending practices, they seek a government
bail-out to avoid competing in the marketplace.
First, I am sure that the NAB is deeply, deeply concerned about satellite radio serving the public well -- NOT. Customers gained by satellite radio are customers lost by the NAB**. In fact, if they really believed the merger would hurt the consumer experience with satellite radio, their statement would instead be "we are thrilled by this merger because it means that customers will be served poorly in the future by the new company and that means customers will defect back to us."
Second, I love the term "government bailout." What they mean by government bailout is the prospect that the government might not block this merger. Which, given the white-hot merger activity between NAB members over the past 5 years, means that most NAB members have received the same "bailout."
(HT: Hit and Run)
** In the TV market, terrestrial broadcasters, particularly their local affiliates, got the government to cover their butts by passing a "Must Carry" law, which basically requires that cable companies have to include all the local broadcasters in their feed. In practice, this and similar laws have forced satellite providers to give you your network feed only through your local affiliate. This means that instead of DirecTV being able to just give me the NBC national feed, they have to give me the NBC Phoenix affiliate. As a result, DirecTV has whole satellites that carry forty, fifty, sixty or more identical feeds. What a screaming waste, and it only gets worse with HDTV. Anyway, in radio, there is no similar law, so satellite growth is more of a zero-sum loss for terrestrial competitors. I think the NAB is just huffy they did not get their own must-carry
subsidy law passed.