Nexstar Settles DOJ Ad Info Investigation

Nexstar has reached a settlement with the Justice Department over DOJ's investigation into the TV ad market, specifically what DOJ says are anticompetitive exchanges of competitively sensitive information.

It has already settled with Sinclair, Raycom, Tribune, Meredith, Griffin and Dreamcatcher, but added Nexstar to the settlement as a defendant Thursday (Dec. 13) and filed a proposed settlement at the same time, as it did with the others, which all settled Nov. 13.

According to the complaint, Nexstar had "agreed with other entities [see above] in many metropolitan areas across the United States to exchange revenue pacing information, and also engaged in the exchange of other forms of non-public sales information in certain metropolitan areas."

Related: Antitrust Chief Warns TV Stations About TV Station Ad Info Exchanges

The settlement prohibits such sharing in the future, which DOJ says resolves the issue—none of the settlements include a fine. Nexstar also agreed to cooperate in Justice's investigation and to adopt "rigorous antitrust compliance and reporting measures." The prohibition also extends to any new owner of Nexstar stations.

It does not prohibit sharing competitively sensitive info with advertisers, unless the advertiser is a competing station in the same DMA.

“The Antitrust Division continues its efforts to stop the unlawful exchange of competitively sensitive information in the television broadcast industry,” said antitrust division chief Makan Delrahim. “Robust competition among broadcast stations allows American businesses to obtain competitive advertising rates. The unlawful sharing of information reduced that competition and harmed businesses and the consumers they serve.”

The settlement has a seven-year term and was filed in the D.C. U.S. District Court.

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.