Monday, November 24th2.0°C
23286
23934

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

23872


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX15047.84-63.62
S&P CDNX788.75-0.38
DJIA17801.20-8.86
Nasdaq4744.192+31.222
S&P 5002067.19+3.69
CDN Dollar0.8853-0.0043
Gold1196.80-0.8999
Oil76.70+0.19
Lumber333.40+2.40
Natural Gas4.132-0.134

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.165+0.01
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.32+0.02
Cantex0.04+0.005
Anavex Life Sciences0.18+0.002
Metalex Ventures0.03+0.005
Russel Metals31.33-0.29
Copper Mountain Mining2.17-0.07
Colorado Resources0.13+0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.0135+0.0005
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.04-0.01
Mission Ready Services0.33-0.02

 
23744


24041

FEATURED Property
21251361 600 boynton place
3 bedrooms 4 baths
$416,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


The last great Canadian tax shelter

A guide to how flow-through fund limited partnerships can mightily aid your tax planning!The end of the year will raise concerns among many professionals, self-employed persons, business owners and ev...


What I learned in China: Part 2

As per my previous article on my visit to China, we have much to learn about and from their people. It is potentially the largest market on earth with 1.3 billion people in one country but much will d...


Retirement: Health Issues

Our health is really our greatest asset and maintaining our health is of tremendous importance. You want to do what you can to ensure that health issues will not jeopardize the enjoyment of your retir...

_



24119

24185


Member of BC Press Council


24018