EI News and Notes

Economists Ink: A Brief Analysis of Policy and Litigation

Economic Analysis of the Regulation of MVPD Navigation Devices

A report by EI Senior Vice President Michael G. Baumann and Vice President John M. Gale on the economics of multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) navigation devices (set-top boxes) was filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC expressed concern that the limited retail market for set-top boxes may indicate market failure. The report explains why most consumers prefer to lease set-top boxes from their MVPD rather than purchase the devices from retailers and shows that the low demand for retail set-top boxes does not indicate market failure. The report also discusses problems with the FCC’s proposal to require all MVPDs to provide an adapter, called an AllVid device, to connect proprietary MVPD networks to new televisions and other video devices via a standard interface.

Video Games in the 21st Century:   The 2010 Report

EI Principal Stephen Siwek wrote Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2010 Report. The report, which was prepared for the Entertainment Software Association, updates and expands upon an earlier study that quantified, for the first time, the economic benefits provided by the entertainment software industry to the U.S. economy as a whole. The 2010 Report includes statistical data through 2009.

Travel Center Merger

Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J completed a merger to form Pilot Flying J, a network of over 550 travel centers operating in 43 states.    Before the merger, Pilot operated 275 U.S. locations.   Flying J had filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the transaction after Pilot Flying J agreed to sell 26 locations to Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. The FTC staff had considered the impact of the merger in a provisional market of travel centers with a national presence. EI Chairman Barry C. Harris and EI Senior Vice President Michael G. Baumann worked with White & Case and Kirkland & Ellis on the matter.