Larry Downes: “The Government’s Unraveling Antitrust Case Against AT&T-Time Warner” (Forbes)

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Antitrust scholars, media industry experts and economists across the political spectrum have been scratching their collective heads since November, when the Department of Justice filed suit to block AT&T’s planned $85 billion merger with Time Warner. As the case now heads for an early trial in March, that confusion has only grown. The government’s untested new theory is that the merged entity will have both the incentive and the ability to withhold or overcharge for Time-Warner content if the deal goes through. But that view stands in stark contrast to what is happening across the media landscape. Incumbents, including AT&T, have continued to lose ground to new entrants and new forms of content, pushing traditional producers and distributors into more deal-making.