Advanced Television

Mediaset sues Sky on retrans, both face Serie A antitrust

January 18, 2016

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Italian commercial broadcaster RTI-Mediaset has sued pay-TV operator Sky Italia for damages due to the illegal “retransmission of its former analogue TV channels on satellite”, reports daily La Repubblica,

In its defence, Sky Italia states that the Mediaset channels are available in the clear to all, with any satellite receiver, and without the need for a subscription to the pay-TV platform.

The issue was first raised in July 2015, when Mediaset director Gina Nieri asked Sky Italia to sign a commercial agreement for the re-broadcast of Canale 5, Italia 4 and Rete 4. At the time, she explained that Mediaset was requesting compensation for carriage by pay-TV platforms, as the channels represent a competitive advantage. However, as the two parties did not manage to reach an agreement, Mediaset encrypted its TV channels on satellite at the beginning of September.

A Milan court has set the first hearing on the issue for May.

Separately, La Repubblica also reported that Italy’s Antitrust Authority is preparing to accuse Mediaset Premium and Sky Italia of collusion in the sale of TV rights for the Serie A football matches for the period 2015-2018.

This stems from an investigation, regarding the period from May 14th 2015 to December 10th 2015, on the alleged “restrictive agreement between Sky and RTI-Mediaset Premium and encouraged by the Serie A National Football League and its advisor, Infront Italia”.

The Authority’s report concludes that the behaviour of all the parties involved was “aimed at altering competition (…) avoiding the unfolding of competitive dynamics between the companies operating on the market and preventing the entry of potential new entrants”.

The findings of the Antitrust Authority will be discussed with the legal councils of all parties on February 16th.

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