Credo Action

Block the CBS-Viacom merger

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Petition to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division:

"Block the CBS-Viacom merger."

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    Block the CBS-Viacom merger

    After Disney and FOX merged, the combined company laid off thousands of workers. In the wake of the Comcast-TimeWarner merger, the company broke its promises, kept prices high and made it harder for customers to access rivals' content on the internet. Every time media companies merger, streaming prices go up.1,2,3

    Now, another big media merger looms: CBS and Viacom recently announced plans to combine into one company.4 The result – as always – will be higher prices, fewer jobs, more corporate control and less choice.

    We still have a chance to stop this merger – but we need to act fast.

    Tell the Department of Justice: Block the CBS-Viacom merger.

    CBS and Viacom executives will receive massive pay raises and bonuses as a result of the merger.5 The CEO of Viacom, for example, will get a 155% raise – to more than $31 million each year. Company executives make a big deal about how the companies need to merge to survive against ever-larger rivals. But behind all the pretty talking points, this is one real reason that corporate consolidation is so popular with the investor class: Well-heeled executives get millions in payoffs while regular workers see layoffs.

    Media consolidation is already hurting our democracy and consumer choices. AT&T bought DirectTV and then Warner Media. Disney purchased FOX. A small handful of corporate media companies control movies, TV and news reporting – not to mention cable television and mobile and wired internet access. CBS and Viacom will not be as large as these other corporate behemoths, but every single media merger creates ever-more incentives to grow and combine. Executives get richer, corporations become more powerful and we lose.

    After years of conservative lobbying, regulators rarely ask about layoffs or lower wages when evaluating mergers. Regulators allow mergers to go through with small conditions – promises that are often broken or changes that don’t work. Antitrust officials too often ignore evidence that monopolies and massive companies result in higher prices, lower wages, job losses and environmental damage.6,7 Just as important, less media diversity means a less-informed public and worse political outcomes – one new study found corporate consolidation leads to more right-wing slant in the news.8

    Consolidation in the media and telecommunications industries is not just harmful to our economy, it is simply bad for our democracy. We need to fight every single merger that comes along – including the CBS-Viacom merger right now.

    Tell the Department of Justice: Block the CBS-Viacom merger.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Consumers Union, "'Comcast:' A history of broken promises," March 1, 2014.
    2. David Sims, "Why Viacom and CBS Had to Merge to Survive," The Atlantic, Aug. 19, 2019.
    3. Jared Newman, "Sorry, cord-cutters: The CBS-Viacom merger will make streaming pricier," FastCompany, Aug. 13, 2019.
    4. Sims, "Why Viacom and CBS Had to Merge to Survive."
    5. Benjamin Mullen, "Viacom and CBS Executives to Earn Big Bucks in Merger Deal," The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 19, 2019.
    6. David Dayen, “Bring Back Antitrust,” The American Prospect, Nov. 9, 2015.
    7. David Dayen, “Why Are Drug Monopolies Running Amok? Meet Deborah Feinstein.” The Intercept, Dec. 16, 2015.
    8. Edmund Andrews, "Media Consolidation Means Less Local News, More Right Wing Slant," Stanford Business, July 30, 2019.