Studios, Sky respond to EC competition probe
July 24, 2015
By Colin Mann
A number of the six major film studios named by the European Commission as having licensing agreements with Sky UK that may be in breach of EU competition rules have responded to the EC’s ‘Statement of Objections’, with Disney saying the impact of the Commission’s analysis was “destructive of consumer value”, and confirming it would oppose the proposed action vigorously.
“Our approach is one that supports local creative industries, local digital and broadcast partners and most importantly consumers in every country across the EU,” it contended.
“We are cooperating fully with the European Commission’s investigation,” commented a Warner Bros. spokesperson, adding that it was “premature” to comment further at this time.
Similarly, NBCUniversal confirmed that it had received the notice and would “respond and cooperate” with the European Commission. Fox, Sony and Paramount declined to comment.
“The European Commission is examining cross border access to pay-TV services across a number of member states. As part of its ongoing enquiry, we have received a statement setting out the commission’s preliminary views. We will consider this and respond in due course,” Sky said in a statement.
The Commission’s preliminary conclusion is that, in the absence of convincing justification, clauses granting ‘absolute territorial exclusivity’ to Sky UK and/or other broadcasters eliminate cross-border competition between pay-TV broadcasters and partition the internal market along national borders, constituting a serious violation of EU rules that prohibit anticompetitive agreements.