Net neutrality fuels media mergers

By | July 20, 2018

Last month, the Department of Justice lost its suit to prevent AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. In a recent articleAmanda Lotz, professor of media studies at U-M, predicts that these types of mergers will reshape the American media landscape, even more so because of the elimination of net neutrality. “The reason AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner is so significant is that it allowed a major distribution company to purchase a large content company,” writes Lotz. But the end of net neutrality magnifies the impact of this deal because it allows internet service providers to charge for delivery prioritization. For example, AT&T will be able to treat its own content favorably – HBO won’t have to pay to receive “fast-lane” access on AT&T’s internet service – but AT&T will likely require competing services such as Netflix and Hulu to pay up, which will most likely lead higher subscriber fees. AT&T might also make HBO very expensive for those who do not receive its internet service in an effort to get subscribers to switch providers.