Monday, March 30th8.4°C
25326
24949

EU antitrust authority probes provisions of contracts between US film studios, European pay TV

BRUSSELS - The European Union's antitrust watchdog is investigating whether some clauses demanded by major U.S. film studios in their contracts with Europe's largest pay TV broadcasters hurt competition.

The probe, unveiled Monday, covers Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal and Paramount Pictures.

Studios mostly sell film rights for use in only one country, rather than across the EU's 28 nations. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said it is investigating the legality of clauses in contracts that prevent broadcasters from providing services across borders.

"Such provisions might constitute an infringement of EU antitrust rules," said Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, the bloc's antitrust chief. "More and more European citizens watch films, use pay TV services broadcast by satellite and increasingly available through online streaming," he told reporters in Brussels.

Contract clauses granting "absolute territorial protection" might be forcing pay TV operators such as Britain's BSkyB, France's Canal Plus, Spain's DTS or Italy's and Germany's Sky channels to refuse subscribers from other EU nations, according to the Commission.

Almunia specified the antitrust body's investigation doesn't question all forms of territorial limitations and doesn't aim at introducing flat-out European contracts instead of national ones.

The question is, for example, whether a subscriber to a German pay TV channel should be able to watch his content also when using his laptop to stream it online while on vacation in another EU nation, he said.

"Or if you live in Belgium and you want to subscribe to a Spanish pay TV service, (you) may not be able to subscribe at all if there's absolute territorial exclusivity," Almunia said.

The Commission has no legal deadline to complete its antitrust inquiries. If it finds violations of competition rules, it can hand firms fines worth a percentage of the annual sales of the relevant products, capped at a maximum of 10 per cent of a firm's overall annual revenues.

The bloc's top court, the EU Court of Justice, in 2011 found in a case involving territorial licensing restrictions for Premier League football matches that they eliminate competition between broadcasters and partition the market according to national borders, the Commission said.

Regarding football rights "these exclusivity conditions are being eliminated or have been eliminated" following the court ruling, Almunia said. On film rights, however, such clauses of territorial exclusivity still exist, he added.

"We will carefully examine the principle set out by the court," Almunia said.

___

Follow Juergen Baetz on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jbaetz

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

24393


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14812.42-57.38
S&P CDNX681.43+1.87
DJIA17712.66+34.43
Nasdaq4891.22+27.86
S&P 5002061.02+4.87
CDN Dollar0.7928-0.0002
Gold1196.30-8.80
Oil48.42-0.45
Lumber282.60-3.60
Natural Gas2.62-0.05

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.125-0.005
Knighthawk0.010.00
QHR Technologies Inc1.50+0.00
Cantex0.03-0.01
Anavex Life Sciences0.219+0.009
Metalex Ventures0.04-0.01
Russel Metals24.50-0.18
Copper Mountain Mining1.13+0.00
Colorado Resources0.125+0.010
ReliaBrand Inc0.006-0.001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.045+0.000
Mission Ready Services0.255+0.020
Decisive Dividend Corporation1.80+0.02

 





FEATURED Property
2237085925 Westpoint Place
3 bedrooms 5 baths
$969,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


CRA Notice of Assessment

Many Canadians rush to file their taxes on time each year and don’t think about it until the next year. One of the most overlooked notices received from the CRA annually is the annual Notice of ...


Medical confidential?

If ICBC asks your doctor for your information you may wonder: Can ICBC ask my doctor for my medical information? Can ICBC request a medical report from my doctor without my consent? What is ICBC entit...


Stay out of sales limbo!

Have you ever had a series of good meetings with a prospect … gathered all kinds of information … and given what you thought was a great presentation … only to receive a response ...

_








Member of BC Press Council


24222