DOJ/FTC To Look At Bundled Pricing

The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission want to hear from stakeholders on the pros and cons of the bundled-pricing model that has become the cable industry's—make that the cable, broadband, wireless, phone, home security industry's—bread and butter.

The agencies are teaming on a June 24 joint workshop on "conditional pricing practices." They say the goal is to understand the harms and benefits of conditional pricing, including bundled pricing, and to look at how they are treated under antitrust laws.

In their request for comment, the agencies tee up both sides of the issue. "[B]undled pricing can deny rivals that do not produce all of the products in the bundle efficiencies of scale or scope," says the comment form. "Supporters of such arrangements contend, however, that as long as these practices involve prices that are above some measure of cost, they are likely to reflect beneficial price competition, and that restraining their use will inhibit robust competition."

Written submissions on the topic are being solicited and accepted between now and Aug. 22 (60 days after the workshop).

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.