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Sirius-XM: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin And Defining Competition

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Whether you call it a merger or an acquisition, the actual closing of a deal between Sirius and XM relies in great measure on a different definition: the meaning of competition in a multi-platform world. The satellite radio competitors content that there is enough competition in the radio space to merit federal approval of their plans. During an impromptu press conference last month at CES, I had the chance to ask FCC Chairman Kevin Martin about the impact of access to media in multiple formats and on multiple platforms when it comes to defining competition in FCC terms. Martin parsed through the question, then said: “The changes in technology that are occurring are allowing different platforms to be utilized to compete with other platforms that they weren’t previously allowed to. But our definition of a market is based upon — in the context of any particular transaction — is based upon the market as it exists now and what is the evidence of that competition actually occurring. There are certainly big changes that technology is allowing or that we’re beginning to see and the impact of those varies with different sectors.”
When I asked specifically whether there was enough competition to give XM and Sirius room to consider a merger, Martin replied: “We’ll analyze any application when it comes in but, on the other hand, I’m not sure what them or anyone is describing as new competition in the radio space. The most direct analogy is what we’ve done on the satellite television context, where we said the marketplace that was relevant was the video marketplace and I think we were including cable but we weren’t including things like DVRs or DVDs. We didn

One Response to “Sirius-XM: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin And Defining Competition”

  1. Did you catch NYT's headline – "Merger to end Satellite Radio's Rivalry"? no sh*& – thanks to paidcontent I've finally got some analysis. Waiting for your follow-up analysis. thx.m