Time Warner: Don't Sell to Rupert Murdoch

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UPDATE 8/5:  Success! Rupert Murdoch withdrew 21st Century Fox's bid to acquire Time Warner.

Message to Time Warner's shareholders and Board of Directors: 
Don't sell Time Warner to Rupert Murdoch. A combined Time Warner and 21st Century Fox would create a company so large that it would radically transform the U.S. media landscape. It would be terrible for consumers and the market.

Last week, news broke that Rupert Murdoch -- through his company, 21st Century Fox -- tried to buy Time Warner, the world's second-largest media conglomerate, for more than $75 billion. Time Warner rejected the initial offer, but Murdoch seems hellbent on pushing ahead and buying the company. There's a real risk that he'll ultimately prevail.

If Time Warner sells, Rupert Murdoch would own HBO (Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, etc...), Cinemax, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TBS, TNT, DC Comics (Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, etc...), and literally dozens of other companies, movie studios, and TV channels with which you're no doubt familiar.

A combined Time Warner and 21st Century Fox would create a content company so large that it would radically transform the media landscape. Murdoch would control 40% of the cable market* -- eclipsing the 25% share of the nearest competitor, Disney. It would also mean that Murdoch would control about a 30% share of the movie market -- a portion so staggeringly big that it'd be about twice the size of the nearest competitor.

Giving one company this much control over our media would be terrible for consumers and the marketplace.

According to Reuters, owning Time Warner would make Rupert Murdoch the undisputed "king" of the U.S. media. And we've already seen the disastrous effects that come when Rupert Murdoch has unbridled media power.

In the United Kingdom, Murdoch's dominating presence created a sense of impunity that, when combined with his culture of corruption, led to the now-infamous phone hacking scandal. There, Murdoch's papers engaged in telephone hacking at an industrial scale, ultimately stealing private information from thousands of people's phones over the course of several years.

In Australia, Murdoch controls about 70% of the local newspaper market, which gives him an enormous amount of influence over the electoral process. That sheer size also creates an overall chilling effect. In 2013, Australia's largest progressive group attempted to run a TV ad that criticized Murdoch's extremely biased newspaper coverage. Every single major network refused to run the ad, with some reportedly citing fear of criticizing Murdoch as the reason for the decision.

These are just two of many examples of the harms that follow when Murdoch is allowed to concentrate media and irresponsibly wield the power that comes from it.

*As measured by cable subscriber fees.

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