Martin: XM-Sirius Review Could Still Be Done By Month's End
Satellite-Radio Providers’ a la Carte Offer Intrigues Federal Communications Commission Chairman
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/5/2008 4:00:00 AM
The Federal Communications Commission's review of the proposed merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio could still be done by the end of March.
That had been FCC chairman Kevin Martin's projection, and he was not ready to revise or extend those remarks at a meeting with reporters Tuesday.
"It is just the beginning of this month, so I am not going to revise anything yet," he said.
Martin reiterated that he thought the two satellite-radio companies had a "high hurdle" given that they were the two national providers of the service. Although the companies argued that the market is broader and includes terrestrial radio, he added, "The commission's precedent would indicate that we would consider it in a narrower context." But he also said the companies’ proposal to deliver their satellite-radio channels in a modified a la carte regime "was intriguing and could provide for additional consumer protection."
Martin is a big fan of a la carte -- almost certainly the reason XM and Sirius weighed in with the per-channel proposal to help sweeten the deal.
Martin did not say whether the FCC would wait for the Justice Department, which is also considering the merger, to weigh in with its determination of what it thinks the relevant competitive market is. As he pointed out, Justice goes first 99% of the time, but the FCC went first in its most recent merger review -- the combination of Liberty Media and DirecTV.
The fact that the XM-Sirius merger STILL has not happened is appalling and shows why this Republican administration is laughable. As a satellite subscriber, I no longer listen to terrestrial radio... why? Because satellite programming is far superior and lets me choose what I want to listen to. Not the commercials or the crappy pop music. Perhaps if the chairman of the FCC was a satellite subscriber, he would see where the future of radio is heading. (Perhaps he secretly already is and doesn't want anyone to know).
I just find it amazing the merger of Exxon/Mobil didn't take this long. I wonder whose getting a little profit sharing from that one in the Justice Department... hmmmm.
Sirius Subscriber - 3/6/2008 9:23:00 PM EST
Terrestrial radio is and has been trying to stifle competition from satellite radio for 10 years while they steathly move into internet radio which is not only national but "worldwide". Hopefully Chairman Barnett will have the courage to do what's right for the consumer and approve this merger. As for the FCC, the majority needs to show some strength and stave off all the ridiculous requests from third party organizations by closing the deal with the numerous concessions and consumer protections the sat co's have offered.
Satellite subscriber - 3/5/2008 4:03:00 PM EST
The FCC and DOJ's 14 month review is a fine example of why people have lost faith in the United States governement. What the heck takes 14 months.... you can send a man to the fricking moon in the time it takes for these two elephants to "decide" on something that 85% of people want and frankly need. Without this merger there is only going to be one supplier anyhow.... and that's Sirius.
The only people that don't want this is the NAB who have been busy greasing the politicans.
Matt Scott - 3/5/2008 9:13:00 AM EST
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