Testimony of Gene Kimmelman Before the Senate Commerce Committee Re: News Corp./DirecTV Merger and Media Consolidation

Today consumers are not receiving the fruits that a competitive cable and satellite marketplace should deliver. Since passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, cable rates have risen over 50%, and according to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC), satellite competition is not helping to keep those rates down. Despite the promise for more source and viewpoint diversity from new technologies such as the Internet and satellite, a mere five media companies control nearly the same prime time audience shares as the Big Three networks did 40 years ago. Unfortunately, the market for news production and distribution is even more concentrated. And a troubling situation is about to get much worse.