DOJ asks DirecTV, Dish Network for pricing information in antitrust probe
Federal investigators have asked DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) for information on their respective pricing contracts with television networks, as part of an antitrust probe into competition between pay-TV companies and the online-video space.
The Department of Justice sent civil investigative demands to DirecTV and Dish, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.
The Justice Department's antitrust investigation, specifically, is looking into whether cable Internet service providers have engaged in anticompetitive practices to quash burgeoning competition from online video providers.
Investigators have reportedly questioned executives at Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA), the nation's largest cable operator, and senior management at Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), among other cable providers.
Meanwhile, Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Hulu, a joint venture of Comcast, The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWS), are among over-the-top (OTT) video-streaming companies approached by investigators.
Justice Department officials are particularly interested in moves by some pay-TV providers, including Comcast and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), to impose caps on the amount of data subscribers can use for downloads, and the effects some companies' tiered-data policies have on the online-video space.
Justice Department officials are also reportedly investigating whether cable-TV providers have acted anticompetitively by requiring viewers to subscribe to cable services to access certain online programming. Comcast, for instance, requires customers to provide their cable subscription details if they want to watch certain programs on a tablet.
- read the Bloomberg story
House hearing to examine future of online video
Netflix, Comcast execs named to FCC net-neutrality panel
Franken presses FCC, DOJ to investigate antitrust claims against Comcast
Netflix presses case against 'discriminatory' data caps
Netflix CEO: Comcast flouts 'net neutrality' principles