Following reports last week that a number of television station groups were under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice over alleged collusion in the setting of advertising rates, Variety reports that a series of class action lawsuits have been filed alleging antitrust violations.
“The latest is a Mobile, Ala., law firm that bought broadcast advertising time and is suing a half-dozen station groups, claiming that coordination between their sales teams artificially drove up prices of spots,” Variety reports. “The lawsuit was filed earlier this week in federal court in Chicago, and names Sinclair, Tribune, Gray Television, Tegna Inc., Hearst Communications, and Nexstar. The plaintiffs are seeking class action status.”
The report quotes the lawsuit alleging that the stations “unlawfully shared information and coordinated efforts to artificially inflate prices for television commercials.”
The suit adds: “Specifically, instead of competing with each other on prices for advertising sales, as competitors normally do, defendants and their co-conspirators shared proprietary information and conspired to fix prices and reduce competition in the market.”