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"We weren’t sure we could even think of all the technically sophisticated discriminatory things they could do."
—Disney Lobbyist Preston Padden

WHEN MEDIA GIANTS FIGHT,
IRONY ENSUES

Disney Complains Combined AOL Time Warner Will Wield Too Much Power, Says So With Straight Face
Disney's top lobbyist Preston Padden is urging federal regulators to immediately split the combined AOL Time Warner entity in two.

Fearing the new entity will wield too much media power, Padden has informed the Federal Communications Commission that his company would present a detailed plan suggesting how to "separate content and conduit" in the proposed merger. According to the Washington Post, this would mean that TW would have to spin off its cable TV networks.

"We weren't sure we could even think of all the technically sophisticated discriminatory things they could do," Padden said to the Post. "I'll have to check with the higher-ups to get some examples of what we would do in such a situation."

But Time Warner fired back with the claim that Disney does not separate ownership of distribution lines and content, noting that roughly 69 percent of the prime-time programming on the ABC network is Disney-owned. Disney also often takes an equity stake in content it broadcasts.

According to the Post, Time Warner officials called the Disney proposal "absurd" and said there was "no basis for any conditions on the merger." A company spokesperson also pointed out that under the standard proposed by Disney, Disney itself would have been unable to take over ABC in 1995.

Disney and the proposed AOLTW each control roughly 35% of the free world.

This incident is just the latest in a long-running feud between Disney and Time Warner, which exploded publicly in May when TW dropped ABC from its cable system during a pricing dispute between the companies. It also happened to be during May sweeps.

Despite Disney grumblings, there have been no indications that government regulators would so much as impose stipulations on the merger. Company stockholders have already approved the $183 million deal, which is under review by the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission. The merger is expected to close by this fall.

NEAR TRUTHS:
THE HOUSE WINS
I.B. Bad handicaps the Vegas Grammys. (1/18a)
ON THE COVER:
THE LUMINEERS
The downside of BRIGHTSIDE for Wes and Jer (1/18a)
HITS LIST MAKES
THE PLAYOFFS
A bunch of All-Pros takes the field. (1/18a)
COACHELLA LINEUP: HARRY, YE, BILLIE AND THE WHOLE THING
The poster has been printed. (1/13a)
UTA: A YEAR OF MOMENTUM
Agency reshuffles the deck. (1/18a)
I DON'T WANNA WORK
I just wanna bang on my drum all day.
I HAVE A HANGOVER
I like to call it "2021."
I DON'T WANNA HAVE A MEETING
My Zoom backgrounds are all outdated.
I MISS CHRISTMAS
When's the next holiday that involves eggnog?
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