Time Warner CEO Calls DOJ’s Antitrust Claim “Ridiculous”
April 23, 2018
Taking the stand at the AT&T-Time Warner antitrust trial, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes called one of the government’s claim’s “ridiculous” and said that others made no sense. When asked about the government’s claim that the combined companies would gain leverage over distribution rivals, and thus be able to demand more money for carrying networks like CNN and TNT, he replied, “I think it is ridiculous. That is not how this works.” He also said that it “doesn’t make sense” that the company would try to restrict the use of HBO as a promotional tool by AT&T’s rivals, another claim by the government in its lawsuit. “We need to be in every outlet,” he said. “We need to have as many subscribers as we can get.” He claimed that Time Warner would have a lot to lose in an extended programming blackout, one of the tactics the government claims the merged entity could use with impunity. He said that a 2014 blackout of some of the Turner channels from Dish Network ended up costing Time Warner $150 million in lost revenue, and in settlement of billing disputes “manufactured” by Dish’s co-founder, Charlie Ergen.
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