Antitrust: Media, Digital -- Take Your Pick

Concerns about media tech companies with monopolistic tendencies are now reaching a boiling point, as Congressional inquiries heat up.

There is much talk about Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon in this scenario, due to their strong positions in their respective marketplaces.

But one name hasn’t been mentioned, even as these companies are typically lumped together in a group, especially under the FAANG group of digital media companies. That name is Netflix.

To hear press accounts, one would think the all-powerful Netflix will continue its dominance in the premium streaming video space. But thankfully, Netflix’s position comes against big, traditional media companies (Walt Disney, NBCUniversal, and WarnerMedia in particular) — and that is thankfully because Netflix executives can point to a healthy competitive market.



Traditional media companies are starting premium digital video platform competitors — mostly ad-free, but with some adding limited ad-supported options.

Other big digital media technology companies might say they have competitors too.

Apple has Samsung (when it comes to smartphones). Facebook has Snapchat and Twitter (for social media). Perhaps Google and Amazon remain in the best position -- with the latter seeing some growth from Walmart and Target. Amazon would point to this.

Back to traditional media: Many might have complained about AT&T buying up Time Warner, and before that, DirecTV. But in light of so many other new media companies' growth and power — in terms of content providers and media scale — AT&T may not seem so overwhelming.

The same might be said about Walt Disney buying Fox businesses. Analysts might point to Disney just adding more TV and film content resources, with the deal being less about ownership of traditional TV networks and stations, since there are many competitors.

And lately, we hear again about CBS merging with Viacom. For media analysts, this is more or less just a shrug of the shoulders. Ten years ago? That's a bigger deal.

All to say, one’s perspective with the times and context shifts a lot. Five years from now, will we be looking at Netflix with a broader vision, or will we be concerned about regulation, or whether it is airing reruns of “The Office” and “Friends”?

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