Spain: Prisa challenges DTT awards
October 20, 2015
From David Del Valle in Madrid
Spanish media group Prisa is challenging the government’s award of the six new DTT licences, taking the case to the National Committee of Markets and Competition (CNMC), the Spanish Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo) and the European Commission (EC).
In its appeal before the CNMC, Prisa has urged the competition watchdog to take legal actions against the Government’s decision to award the DTT licences and suspend it “to guarantee free competition and pluralism in the TV market, avoiding irreparable damages as a result of the awarding of the licences to Mediaset and Atresmedia”.
Prisa argues that the awarding of two HD DTT licences to Mediaset and Atresmedia, one for each one, is an “obstacle” to free competition as it strengthens their duopoly in the TV market as combined both control 86 per cent of the TV advertising pie and almost 60 per cent of the TV audience. With the new licences, the two companies operate 13 DTT channels (Mediaset, seven and Atresmedia, six) with an audience share of 31.4 per cent and 26.8 per cent, respectively, in September. According to Infoadex, in the first half of 2015, Mediaset took 43.2 per cent of the TV advertising investment and 42.8 per cent Atresmedia.
Prisa is also taking the case to the Supreme Court and to the EC on the grounds that the awarding breaks the 106 and 102 articles of the EU Treaty as the new licences create “a risk of abuse of dominant position”.
Another Spanish media group, Vocento, has also lodged a complaint about the awarding of the licences on the same grounds.