Short Reads

Brussels Court of Appeal confirms interim measures against exclusive TV broadcasting rights

Brussels Court of Appeal confirms interim measures against exclusive

Brussels Court of Appeal confirms interim measures against exclusive TV broadcasting rights

03.10.2016 EU law

On 7 September 2016, the Brussels Court of Appeal (the “Court”) confirmed the interim measures of the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) preventing cable and pay TV provider Telenet from exclusively broadcasting the Superprestige Cyclocross competition for five years.

In 2015, the VZW Verenigde Veldritorganisatoren (“VVO”), organizer of the Superprestige cyclocross, granted Telenet exclusive TV broadcasting rights for the Superprestige for five years. As no prior tender had taken place, Telenet’s competitor Proximus filed a complaint to the BCA and asked for interim measures based on an alleged abuse of dominance and/or a violation of the cartel prohibition. The BCA granted the request, as a result of which VVO had to suspend the exclusivity clause and offer the broadcasting rights to any interested party on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms pending a final decision by the BCA [see our January 2016 newsletter].

On appeal, the Court ruled that the BCA applied the correct standard for imposing provisional measures by stating that it was not manifestly unreasonable to hold that the exclusivity agreement may restrict competition on the market for cyclocross broadcasting licenses as well as strengthen Telenet’s dominant position on the retail market for television services. The BCA’s assessment was found to be sufficiently reasoned, based on the exclusive character and length of the agreement, the ‘premium’ character of the content, Telenet’s dominance and the lack of a prior tender.

One of the conditions to obtain interim measures is that the disadvantage must be serious and hard to reverse. In that regard, the Court stated that the BCA is entitled to consider the interests of the complainant as well as of other parties, e.g. sport channels. The fact that Telenet would become the only provider of a comprehensive range of cyclocross races constituted a significant barrier and impairment for its competitors, which could lead to exclusionary effects. The Court therefore dismissed the appeal in its entirety and confirmed the interim measures.

The judgment shows once again that the threshold applied to obtaining interim measures in competition cases as well as the chances of seeing interim measures reversed on appeal in Belgium is low.

 

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of October 2016. Other articles in this newsletter:

  1. Court of Justice ends Pilkington's fight against fine in the car glass cartel
  2. General Court upholds Commission's decision that reverse payment settlements constitute a 'by object' infringement
  3. European Commission puts price signalling on the agenda
  4. European Commission orders Ireland to recover illegal tax benefits worth up to €13 billion from Apple
  5. Commission publishes Preliminary Report on the e-commerce sector inquiry
  6. Brussels Court of Appeal confirms interim measures against exclusive TV broadcasting rights

Team

Related news

10.04.2018 EU law
The External DPO: Controller or Processor?

Short Reads - The upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has caused many companies intense compliance headaches due to its comprehensive scope, far-reaching obligations and severe penalties. However, the new rules have also brought about a range of new economic opportunities, in particular through the creation of the roles of  Data Protection Officer (DPO) and EU-representative.

Read more

14.03.2018 EU law
The Court of Justice of the European Union Rules that Intra-EU Investment Arbitration is Incompatible with EU Law: Reflections and Consequences for the Energy Charter Treaty

Articles - On the 6th of March 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held in a case between the Slovak Republic and Achmea (Case C-284/16, ECLI:EU:C:2018:158) that investment arbitration on the basis of the Netherlands-Slovakia Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) is incompatible with EU law, in particular Arts. 267 and 344 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). 

Read more

Our website uses cookies: third party analytics cookies to best adapt our website to your needs & cookies to enable social media functionalities. For more information on the use of cookies, please check our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Please note that you can change your cookie opt-ins at any time via your browser settings.

Privacy – en cookieverklaring