One of the more surreal “We have always been at war with Oceania” spectacles of the Trump era was seeing lefties and the media suddenly learn to live big corporate mergers and takeovers. As long as they involved friendly social justice corps.
Like AT&T. The new parent company of CNN.
The media decided to take AT&T’s side in its purchase of DirecTV, which created an even bigger access monopoly. Multiple media hit pieces claimed that DOJ opposition was a Trump conspiracy. The media and its stable of Trump haters got their way. And rates are now going up.
Monthly rates for new customers of the satellite-TV service have surged by more than 20 percent during the past year-and-a-half — a time period that happens to coincide with DirecTV owner AT&T’s ownership of Time Warner.
The telecom giant’s controversial, $85 billion purchase of Time Warner won approval from a federal judge in June 2018 — despite vigorous opposition from the US Department of Justice, which had warned that the deal would reduce competition and expose consumers to higher prices.
But after the merger got cleared, DirecTV began a series of price hikes, including in January of this year, according to screen grabs of DirecTV’s Web site. A two-year contract for its cheapest option, Select, now costs $70.50 a month on average — a 25 percent increase versus $56.50 a month for subscribers who started in June 2018.
DirecTV’s priciest option, Premier, has meanwhile surged 11 percent to $162 a month for a two-year contract, up from $145.50. Yet another DirecTV price hike is slated for next month, TV news blogger Phillip Swann reported last week.
The jacked-up rates have spurred a customer stampede. As of the end of September, DirecTV had 17 million subscribers — down from 20 million at the time of the merger. AT&T doesn’t break out DirecTV’s sales or profits in its financial reports.
Less options, higher prices. That’s the way this works.
The country doesn’t benefit from having 2 or 3 mediocre monopolies with overt contempt for their customers. But the same Left which is now campaigning yet again, against mergers and monopolies, went all in on them during the Obama era and the Trump era.
But then again they don’t care about American workers. They care about CNN.