In 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a joint sales agreement (JSA) with several broadcasting companies, with the aim of promoting competition and preventing anti-competitive practices in the media industry.
A JSA is an agreement between two or more television stations to combine their sales forces and sell advertising time jointly. This allows smaller stations to compete with larger ones for advertising revenue, and also enables them to pool their resources and achieve cost savings.
Before the DOJ`s intervention, JSAs had become increasingly common in the industry, as companies sought ways to remain profitable in the face of declining advertising revenue. However, concerns were raised that they could lead to a reduction in competition and diversity of media voices, as well as contributing to higher costs for advertisers.
The DOJ`s investigation found that several of the JSAs entered into by broadcasters violated antitrust laws, as they effectively allowed one company to control both programming and advertising on two or more stations in the same market. This could have led to higher prices for advertisers, and less choice for viewers.
As a result of the investigation, the DOJ required several broadcasters to terminate their JSAs, and also imposed conditions on new agreements, such as limiting the duration of the agreements and requiring the companies to provide regular reports to ensure compliance with antitrust laws.
Overall, the 2014 joint sales agreement was a significant development in the media industry, as it highlighted the importance of maintaining competition and diversity in the market. Going forward, it will be important for broadcasters to be aware of the regulations surrounding JSAs, and ensure that they are not engaging in anti-competitive practices. Meanwhile, advertisers and viewers can continue to enjoy a wider range of media voices and advertising options, thanks to the DOJ`s intervention.