The Justice Department finally approved the merger between XM and Sirius last night. Now the FCC is the only barrier standing between sports fans and a product that lets them listen to every NFL and MLB game every year. The New York Times reports on the DoJ’s reasoning:
The Justice Department’s antitrust division announced Monday that it approved the merger after determining that prices were not likely to rise, in part because of competition from other program sources, like high-definition radio as well as iPods and other MP3 players that can be connected to home or car audio systems. The deal, the agency said, was unlikely to hurt competition or consumers.
This echoes what The Heritage Foundation argued in support of the merger six months ago:
Sirius and XM have plenty of competitors, starting with the broadcasters themselves. In fact, counting both broadcast and satellite services, Sirius and XM have only 3.4 percent of the total radio listenership. But that is only the beginning. Internet-based service is increasingly becoming a player in radio. Moreover, other forms of audio entertainment compete for American ears. In fact, i-Pods and other MP3 devices, which have grown phenomenally in recent years, may be the biggest challenge to radio of any kind.