AT&T and DirecTV’s top executives argued their case Tuesday for their proposed $48.5 billion deal on Capitol Hill, reports the Los Angeles Times.
AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson and DirecTV CEO Michael White said consumers will benefit from the merger, which will enable a bigger company to have more leverage in negotiating with programmers. They appeared before the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law and the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.
White told the Senate panel, “We’ll be able to offer new services to customers at a better value.”
But their arguments were met with some skepticism, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) saying, “If I'm an ordinary customer, I'm rolling my eyes.”
Writers Guild of America West President Chris Keyser, speaking at the Senate panel hearing, warned that the AT&T-DirecTV merger and the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal could create two companies with "unprecedented power as content gatekeepers."
He added, "The market power possessed by these media conglomerates allows them to capture a majority of the economic value created by television production to the detriment of actual content creators.”