AT&T, DirecTV execs try to sell Congress on a bundle – New York Post

Once again, executives involved in a pay-TV merger appeared on Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers why the merger should be approved.

On Tuesday, AT&T and DirecTV brass testified before both House and Senate committees — and even hinted monthly TV bills could come down if the $48.5 billion hookup is sealed.

They didn’t guarantee lower prices but spoke enough about it to leave lawmakers feeling they could happen.

“I am very, very skeptical as a senator, not just as a consumer,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), said at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel hearing.

Blumenthal asked AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson whether he could commit to pass on the savings from lower content fees to consumers dollar-for-dollar.

“No sir, I can’t,” Stephenson said, but added he hoped the merger would result in slower price increases for consumers.

Stephenson and his counterpart at DirecTV tried to paint their deal as different from the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.

“This is not Comcast-Time Warner [Cable],” Stephenson told a House Judiciary Committee panel. “This is not two cable companies getting together.”

Stephenson said there was very little overlap between the two companies.

“There is simply no significant competitive overlap between AT&T and DirecTV in the product that consumers overwhelmingly demand — an integrated broadband/video offering,” he said.

DirecTV Chief Executive Michael White said that without an Internet offering, his satellite-TV company has produced slower subscription growth and has been attacked in rivals’ ad campaigns for lacking bundles.

“Broadband has supplanted video as the most important element in a customer’s service bundle,” he said.

AT&T, DirecTV execs try to sell Congress on a bundle – New York Post

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