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DOJ Weighs in on Viamedia v. Comcast But Doesn’t Undermine Judge’s Decision to Dismiss Case

The U.S. Justice Department weighed in on independent TV ad management company Viamedia’s $75 million anti-trust suit against Comcast, but did not say an Illinois federal judge erred when she dismissed the complaint in August.

In its amicus brief, filed last week, the DOJ reiterated the standard that must be met for Viamedia to prove that Comcast unlawfully impeded it from competing with Comcast Spotlight in the advertising “spot sales” business.

However, in its position-neutral filing, the DOJ stopped short of saying that U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve erred when she dismissed the case in August. But as one legal source told Broadcasting & Cable, the standard it described closely matched Viamedia's argument.

Related: ACA: DOJ Needs to Keep Leash on Comcast/NBCU

Reps for both Comcast and Viamedia had no comment.

In its suit, Viamedia accused Comcast of violating anti-trust laws by forcing cable operators including WideOpenWest and RCN to use its Comcast Spotlight local-ad sales division if they wanted access to Comcast’s spot sales interconnect in Chicago and Illinois.

But St. Eve ruled in August that Viamedia failed to prove that position.

“The record lacks any evidence showing that Comcast has raised, plans to raise, or even has the ability to raise prices,” St. Eve said in her ruling, obtained by Law 360