Market failure in the sports programming market?

by on March 5, 2008 · 6 comments

Not quite, says my boss Ken Ferree, president of PFF, in testimony this morning before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Even though there’s a heated battle going between large sports leagues and video distributors over where sports programming sits on the dial and what the price is charged for it, the bottom line is that there is no reason for the government to be called in to regulate this game. As Ken argues:

there are powerful forces acting on both sides of the bargaining equation. On the one hand, sports programming networks own extremely valuable content, which, generally speaking, distributors wish to carry. On the other hand, program distributors are under tremendous pressure to control consumer rates; limiting programming costs is perhaps the most direct means of achieving that end. The market, not regulatory authorities or appointed arbitrators, is best positioned to balance those interests.

Read Ken’s entire statement to the Committee here. [And there's more coverage of the hearing over at Broadcasting & Cable.]

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