Movies

EU files anti-trust charges against Sky TV & major Hollywood studios

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/movie-images/2015/07/23/Untitled-1_0.jpg?itok=10-StZv0

MUMBAI: The European Commission has filed anti-trust charges against Sky UK and six major US film studios namely Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros, accusing them of unfairly restricting customers' access to content within the European Union.

The Commission takes the preliminary view that each of the six studios and Sky UK have bilaterally agreed to put in place contractual restrictions that prevent Sky UK from allowing EU consumers located elsewhere to access, via satellite or online, pay-TV services available in the UK and Ireland. Without these restrictions, Sky UK would be free to decide on commercial grounds whether to sell its pay-TV services to such consumers requesting access to its services, taking into account the regulatory framework including, as regards online pay-TV services, the relevant national copyright laws.

If the Commission's preliminary position were to be confirmed, each of the companies would have breached EU competition rules prohibiting anti-competitive agreements. The sending of a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said, “European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU. Our investigation shows that they cannot do this today, also because licensing agreements between the major film studios and Sky UK do not allow consumers in other EU countries to access Sky's UK and Irish pay-TV services, via satellite or online. We believe that this may be in breach of EU competition rules. The studios and Sky UK now have the chance to respond to our concerns.”

US film studios typically license audio-visual content, such as films, to a single pay-TV broadcaster in each Member State (or combined for a few Member States with a common language). The Commission's investigation, which was opened in January 2014, identified clauses in licensing agreements between the six film studios and Sky UK, which require Sky UK to block access to films through its online pay-TV services (geo-blocking) or through its satellite pay-TV services to consumers outside its licensed territory (UK and Ireland).

The Commission's preliminary view as set out in the Statement of Objections is that such clauses restrict Sky UK's ability to accept unsolicited requests for its pay-TV services from consumers located abroad, i.e. from consumers located in Member States where Sky UK is not actively promoting or advertising its services (passive sales). Some agreements also contain clauses requiring studios to ensure that, in their licensing agreements with broadcasters other than Sky UK, these broadcasters are prevented from making their pay-TV services available in the UK and Ireland.

As a result, these clauses grant ‘absolute territorial exclusivity’ to Sky UK and/or other broadcasters. They eliminate cross-border competition between pay-TV broadcasters and partition the internal market along national borders. The Commission's preliminary conclusion is that, in the absence of convincing justification, the clauses would constitute a serious violation of EU rules that prohibit anticompetitive agreements (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

The Commission previously also set out concerns as regards licensing agreements between the film studios and other major European broadcasters (Canal Plus of France, Sky Italia of Italy, Sky Deutschland of Germany and DTS of Spain). The Commission continues to examine cross-border access to pay-TV services in these Member States.

These antitrust investigations focus on contractual restrictions on passive sales outside the licensed territory in agreements between studios and broadcasters. At the same time, broadcasters also have to take account of the applicable regulatory framework beyond EU competition law when considering sales to consumers located elsewhere. This includes, for online pay-TV services, relevant national copyright laws. In this context, in parallel to its actions under EU competition law, the Commission will propose to modernise EU copyright rules and review the EU Satellite and Cable Directive as part of its Digital Single Market Strategy adopted in May 2015. The aim is to reduce the differences between national copyright regimes and allow for wider access to online content across the EU.

Background

EU antitrust rules prohibit the restriction of passive sales, i.e. the sales of products cross-border in the internal market responding to demands from customers not solicited by the seller. In its October 2011 ruling on the Premier League/Murphy cases, the EU Court of Justice specifically addressed the issue of absolute territorial restrictions in licence agreements for broadcasting services. The Court held that certain licensing provisions preventing a satellite broadcaster from providing its broadcasts to consumers outside the licensed territory enable each broadcaster to be granted absolute territorial exclusivity in the area covered by the license, thus eliminating all competition between broadcasters and partitioning the market in accordance with national borders.

As part of its Digital Single Market strategy, the Commission will propose to reform EU copyright rules. It seeks to improve people's access to cultural content online as well as to open new opportunities for creators and the content industry. More specifically, the Commission wants to ensure that users who buy online content such as films, music or articles at home can also enjoy them while travelling across Europe.

Currently, service providers, in particular in the audio-visual sector, may be prevented from providing such portability features by copyright licensing arrangements. The Commission also wants to facilitate wider access to online content across borders. In this context, the Satellite and Cable Directive will be reviewed and a public consultation will be launched after the summer. The Commission will notably assess if the scope of the Directive needs to be enlarged to broadcasters' online transmissions.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/09/10/holy.jpg?itok=8rHaUINR
The biggest hollywood blockbusters will take over star movies in september

MUMBAI: The big India festive season has started and everyone is gearing up with their plans to celebrate it in the best possible avatar. When it comes to grand celebrations and larger than life content offering, no one does it better than Star Movies – the leading Hollywood destination of India.

Movies Hollywood
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/16/sattru.jpg?itok=byCPgOSS
Get ready for a blockbuster date with 'Saturday Premiere Nights' at 8 only on &pictures

Having an exhausting week, and still struggling to figure plans for the weekend to unwind?  Well, &pictures, is all set to take you on a transcending journey with some big-ticket actors and superhit movies through its all-new offering ‘Saturday Premiere Nights’. Starting 17th August, &...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/08/14/carter.jpg?itok=3oDvaaY9
Critically acclaimed short film Half Full starring veteran Naseeruddin Shah and Vikrant Massey wins major accolade at ShortsTV’s Best of India Short Film Festival 2019 in Los Angeles

Critically acclaimed short films Half Full, featuring veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah and Vikrant Massey, and Counterfeit Kunkoo, written and directed by Reema Sengupta, were declared winners at ShortsTV’s Best of India Short Film Festival 2019 being held in Los Angeles.

Movies Short Films
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/06/28/movies.jpg?itok=TN01ucGX
Upcoming Bollywood Movies we are excited about in 2019

First half of 2019 saw some amazing movies like Gully Boy, Total Dhamaal and Bharat, But the later half of the year is sure to be more exciting with some really big budget Bollywood films set to release. The upcoming movies that we are really excited about in 2019 and early 2020 are… Student Of The...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/06/04/ZEE---Vibha-Chopra-headshot.jpg?itok=jeqUqnA8
Zee Entertainment Elevates Vibha Chopra as Head of Global Syndication & International Film Distribution

Mumbai -  Mr. Mukund Cairae, Chief Operating Officer - International Business at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), announced the expanded role of Ms. Vibha Chopra to Head-Global Syndication & International Film Distribution at ZEEL.  She has taken over the global licensing and...

Movies International
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/05/21/hollywood.jpg?itok=gxhrAFYZ
“Hollywood Stars” - Behind TheScenes

Marvel’s latest superhero flick Avengers: Endgame has taken the Indian box office by storm, minting Rs. 157 crore within three days of release, easily raking in the highest opening weekend for a Hollywood film in the country so far.

Movies Hollywood
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/05/03/av.jpg?itok=9PVQwFz7
Cinépolis redefines the movie experience by launching ‘Cinépolis Onyx 3D’- India’s first 3D LED screen

Cinépolis, India’s 1st international and the world’s 2nd largest movie theatre circuit by attendance, today launched, ‘Cinépolis Onyx 3D’, a revolutionary ‘Onyx’ LED technology supporting 3D.

Movies Hollywood
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/04/10/insiton.jpg?itok=BTD4eKZh
Namas-K brings K-pop to India

The Korean wave has finally reached the shores of India and it is creating a sensation that is giving India’s entertainment industry an awakening to the broader spectrum of music and dramas attracting early-adopter, social media-savvy millennials.

Movies Short Films
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/04/09/Eros-International.jpg?itok=-uXQrdll
Eros International's Andhadhun Grosses Over $14 Million in China in First Weekend

Eros International Plc (NYSE: EROS) (“Eros” or “the Company”), a Global Indian Entertainment Company, today announced that Andhadhun, an engaging thriller starring Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte has collected over $14.0 million within four days of its release in China.

Movies Hindi

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories