DOJ to Hold Workshop on Competition in Digital and TV Advertising

Department of Justice

WASHINGTON — Executives from Facebook, Comcast Cable, Tegna, Gray Televison and Sinclair Broadcast Group are among the participants in a two-day Department of Justice workshop next week on competition in TV and digital advertising.

The event, to be held on May 2 and 3, will “explore industry dynamics in media advertising and the implications for antitrust enforcement and policy, including merger enforcement,” according to the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

The DOJ’s definition of a relevant market is a key part of its assessment of broadcast mergers. The workshop also comes as local broadcasters push for relaxation of FCC media ownership rules amid competition for advertising dollars from tech giants like Google and Facebook.

The panelists will examine how each type of advertising fits into a campaign, how inventory is priced, the economics of the business, developments in new technologies, changes in consumer behavior and the competitive dynamics, according to the Antitrust Division.

Among those scheduled for panels are Chris Ripley, the CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair’s proposed merger with Tribune Media was sidelined last year by the FCC. It also was in the midst of seeking DOJ approval for the transaction.

Other participants include Dave Lougee, the CEO of Tegna; Pat LaPlatney, president and co-CEO of Gray Television; Mark Lieberman, president and CEO of Viamedia; Mark Pritchard, chief brand officer for Procter & Gamble; Kevin Arrix, senior vice president of media sales for Dish Network; Larry Solov, CEO of Breitbart News Network; Ty Ahmad-Taylor, vice president of business product marketing for Facebook; Marcien Jenckes, president of advertising for Comcast Cable; Rick Kaplan, general counsel of the National Association of Broadcasters; and Christina Beumier, vice president of product, TV platform, Xandr.

Makan Delrahim, the chief of the Antitrust Division, will give opening remarks.

Last year, the DOJ reached a settlement with Sinclair and five other broadcast groups over the sharing of competitively sensitive advertising rate information.