Friday, October 30, 2015

Jury Slaps Cox Cable With $6.3M+ Verdict

With cable boxes currently costing the average household $231 a year, Cox Communication subscribers in middle America won an antitrust lawsuit with a $6.31 million jury verdict on Thursday. The damage award could be trebled as more antitrust lawsuits await.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the plaintiffs in the case alleged that Cox improperly tied and bundled the lease of cable boxes to the ability to obtain premium cable services. A national class action wasn't certified because of differences in geographic markets, but consolidated actions have been proceeding in various regions of the country.

A federal court in Oklahoma was the site of the first case to make it to trial after attempts to send the dispute to arbitration failed.

An eight-day trial explored the question of whether Cox subscribers were really coerced into renting set-top boxes. Some of the premium programming and video-on-demand services may have been available through satellite TV distributors like Dish and DirecTV. Although companies like TiVo have offered an alternative to traditional set-top boxes, the market is thin. For the most part, if Cox customers want premium cable, they must spend extra money for the Cox boxes.

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