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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Revives Viamedia's $500 Million Antitrust Claim Against Comcast; Remands Case for Jury Trial
[February 26, 2020]

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Revives Viamedia's $500 Million Antitrust Claim Against Comcast; Remands Case for Jury Trial


Viamedia, the leading cross-media local advertising company, issued the following company statement in response to this week's U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit's decision reinstating Viamedia's antitrust lawsuit against Comcast (News - Alert) (Case 18-2852):

"We are pleased the Seventh Circuit found that our allegations and evidence are sufficient to support our antitrust claims. This is a good day for the Viamedia team, our partners and for competition in our industry. We look forward to the opportunity to present our case to a jury and be compensated for the substantial damages to the company, as well as seek remedies that will restore Interconnects as the inclusive marketplaces they were intended to be."

Background

  • In 2016, Viamedia filed a lawsuit alleging that Comcast had violated federal and state antitrust and tort laws by forcing competing cable TV providers to purchase local advertising representation services from Comcast as a condition of participation in joint selling arrangements for regional advertising (aka "Interconnects").
  • Viamedia claims that Comcast has used and continues to use its monopoly power over Interconnects to drive Viamedia out of business in geographic markets where Viamedia competed with Comcast in providing cable advertising representation services, harming competition as well as video program distributors (aka "MVPDs"), advertisers, and consumers. Section 2 of the Sherman Act condemns such conduct.
  • Based on reports from experts during discovery, Viamedia seeks damages of approximately $160 million, which is subject to trebling under the antitrust laws, plus pre-judgment interest.
  • In 2016, the district court granted Comcast's motion to dismiss with respect to Viamedia's refusal-to-deal claim, and in 2018 it granted summary judgment to Comcast with respect to Viamedia's exclusive dealing and tying claims.
  • Viamedia appealed the final judgment dismissing its claims.
  • After briefing and oral argument, the Seventh Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of Viamedia's claims, concluding that "Viamedia's allegation and evidence are sufficient to state and support claims that should be presented to a jury." Specifically, the Seventh Circuit held:
    • "Viamedia has … offered evidence to defeat summary judgment on its claim that Comcast unlawfully used its monopoly power over the Interconnects to tie those services to its advertising representation services."
    • "Viamedia has also adequately stated a claim that Comcast has unlawfully refused to deal with Viamedia and any cable competitor [for Interconnect services] that bought advertising representation services from Viamedia."
  • The Seventh Circuit remanded the case to the district court "for any further necessary discovery and for trial."



Viamedia is represented in its lawsuit by Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick PLLC.

About Viamedia


Headquartered in New York City, Viamedia provides a comprehensive audience and impression-based local video and digital advertising platform. As part of the platform, Viamedia has exclusive cable TV ad inventory from more than 60 Cable TV Distributors in 34 states across 72 DMAs, offering advertising on cable TV networks to more than 6,000 local, regional and national advertisers. Viamedia also offers those advertisers a complimentary suite of impression-based digital products including Viamedia's proprietary QTT™ as well as OTT, mobile, display, email, search, and social, in those DMAs and beyond. Viamedia's success is built on its proprietary software, people and processes.

For more information, please visit https://viamediatv.com.


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