European Commission opens antitrust proceedings against Europe’s Pay TV broadcasters


Rapid TV News has reported that the European Commission has opened a probe into licensing agreements between major film studios in the US and Europe’s leading pay-TV broadcasters.

The report states that the investigation is focused “on the nature of typical territory-exclusive deals struck throughout the European Union between studios including Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal and Paramount Pictures, and operators including BSkyB, Canal Plus, Sky Italia, Sky Deutschland DTS of Spain.’

A major concern for the EC is that the provisions of these deals might prevent the broadcasters from providing their services across borders within the EU, “for example by refusing potential subscribers from other member states or blocking cross-border access to their services.’

The Commission also wishes to determine whether the licensing agreements, by granting “absolute territorial protection’ to the broadcasters, infringe upon the antitrust laws that the 28-member bloc currently has in place.

The outcome of the enquiry could have major consequences for the video and television industry of the EU but the Commission has stressed that proceedings are meant as an enquiry to determine the legal status of the deals in question and there has been no “prejudgement’ on the matter.


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