A Macon, Georgia, law firm has filed the latest proposed antitrust class action lawsuit to allege a group of media companies colluded to artificially inflate the price of buying local television advertisements. Filed in Illinois, the 25-page complaint names as defendants:
- Gray Television, Inc.;
- Hearst Communications;
- Nextstar Media Group, Inc.;
- Tegna Inc.;
- Tribune Media Company; and
- Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
As of 2016, the complaint states, the above defendants, with the exception of Hearst, collectively owned, operated or serviced 443 television stations nationwide. The stations’ most vital source of revenue, the case continues, came from the sale of commercial time.
From the complaint:
“Since at least January 1, 2014, [the defendants] unlawfully coordinated their efforts to artificially inflate prices for television commercials. Rather than lawfully vying for advertisers through price competition, [the defendants] and their co-conspirators instead conspired to fix prices by sharing proprietary information, thereby reducing competition in the market.”