New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has sent letters to Senate Minority
Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) backing the $3 billion merger
of Univision Communications Inc. and Hispanic Broadcasting Corp.
"As the only Hispanic state governor and a senior Democratic elected
official, I wholeheartedly support the pending merger. This pro-competitive
combination will result in a Hispanic-run company with the resources to attract
new advertisers and better serve this country's 37 million Hispanics," he wrote.
The merger has already been approved by the Department of Justice, with
conditions, and it continues to receive Federal Communications Commission
scrutiny and attention from Congress.
House Democratic Caucus chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote to the FCC in
March saying Spanish-language media should be considered its own separate
market, making the Univision merger appear to create a monopoly.
Richardson argued that most Hispanics also speak English, so Spanish-language
media must compete with "English-language media conglomerates" for ad dollars.
"With this merger," he added, "a Hispanic-run media company will finally have
the scale and scope to attract those national marketers that currently advertise
only on English-language media."
The argument over whether it would be strengthening one player, HBC, in a larger media market, or facilitating the monopoly of Hispanic
media is similar to the debate in the proposed EchoStar Communications Corp.-DirecTV Inc. merger.
In that case, it was over whether the combination was strengthening one competitor
in the multichannel-video market or allowing a satellite monopoly. In that case,
the FCC did not approve the merger.
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.
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