Court says TV channel bundles don't violate antitrust statutes

The dream of a la carte programming took a hit when a federal appeals court said that TV programming bundles do not violate antitrust laws.

In the ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that subscribers who brought the lawsuit against such name brand TV providers as Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), NBCUniversal and Fox Entertainment Group, didn't show that competition was stifled when channels were bundled into packages.

"Antitrust law recognizes the ability of businesses to choose the manner in which they do business absent any injury to competition," Judge Sendra Ikuta wrote for the three-jurist panel.

The plaintiffs, of course, disagreed and vowed to appeal as high as the U.S. Supreme Court, because, said attorney Maxwell Blecher, "Deprivation of choice is an anticompetitive effect that antitrust laws condemn."

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