Short Reads

ACM closes probe into Fox over live-soccer TV rights due to lack of evidence of consumer harm

ACM closes probe into Fox over live-soccer TV rights due to lack of e

ACM closes probe into Fox over live-soccer TV rights due to lack of evidence of consumer harm

01.08.2017 NL law

On 10 July 2017, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) discontinued its preliminary investigation into Fox. The investigation followed a complaint by cable company CAIW, alleging that the new conditions imposed by Fox on TV distributors in relation to live-soccer matches were discriminatory. The ACM, however, concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish that these conditions would result in consumer harm and/or an appreciable restriction of competition.

On 29 November 2012, the ACM approved the acquisition of Eredivisie Media & Marketing (EMM) by Fox. Through EMM Fox holds an exclusive broadcasting licence for live-soccer matches of the Dutch premier league, the Eredivisie. Simultaneously, the ACM issued an 'informal opinion' listing several conditions that Fox should abide by when commercializing the broadcasting rights to avoid potential anticompetitive effects. The ACM also stated that Fox should offer its broadcasting rights to interested TV distributors under non-discriminatory conditions.

In 2016, Fox changed the conditions for the broadcasting of live Eredivisie matches. This led one such distributor (CAIW) to submit a complaint to the ACM. CAIW argued that the new conditions were discriminatory and disadvantageous for smaller distributors. Under the previous system, distributors would pay Fox a percentage for each customer that subscribed to the live Eredivisie matches. However, under the new conditions, distributors are required to pay for each customer, even if the customer has a television subscription that does not include Eredivisie matches.

The ACM acknowledged that Fox provides the same product to its distributors under different conditions, as the change in conditions does not apply to Ziggo which has a contract until 2020. According to the ACM's market investigation, these different conditions lead to substantial price differences. Notwithstanding these findings, the ACM concluded that the new conditions do not appear to appreciably restrict competition between distributors at the expense of consumers.

In fact, the new conditions have in the short term resulted in a cheaper and more varied offering by distributors. The ACM added that Eredivisie matches are only one element in the broader product assortment of distributors. Moreover, the relative importance of the Eredivisie rights was not significant enough to conclude that a change in the conditions would distort competition in the market to the detriment of consumers. Therefore, the ACM decided to discontinue its investigation into Fox. 

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of August 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

1. Court of Justice dismisses Toshiba's appeal against the gas-insulated switchgear fine
2. Recent enforcement action demonstrates an increasing focus on compliance with procedural EU merger rules
3. Trade and Industry Appeals annuls fine imposed on real estate traders
4. District Court of Rotterdam upheld ACM's decision to clear lottery merger
5. District Court of The Hague rules on ACM's powers to select and inspect digital data

Team

Related news

30.04.2019 EU law
Climate goals and energy targets: legal perspectives

Seminar - On Tuesday April 30th, Stibbe organizes a seminar on climate goals and energy targets. Climate change has incited different international and supranational institutions to issue climate goals and renewable energy targets. Both the UN and the EU have led this movement with various legal instruments.

Read more

04.04.2019 NL law
Tick-tock: no reset of the appeal clock for amending Commission decision

Short Reads - The European Court of Justice recently upheld the General Court's order finding that metal production and recycling company Eco-Bat had submitted its appeal outside of the appeal term. Eco-Bat had relied on the term starting from the date of the European Commission's decision correcting figures for the fine calculation in the initial infringement decision.

Read more

12.04.2019 NL law
Hoogste Europese rechter bevestigt dat overheden onrechtmatige staatssteun proactief moeten terugvorderen

Short Reads - De maand maart 2019 zal vermoedelijk de juridisch handboeken ingaan als een historische maand voor het mededingings- en staatssteunrecht. Niet alleen deed het Hof van Justitie een baanbrekende uitspraak op het gebied van het verhaal van kartelschade. Het heeft in de uitspraak Eesti Pagar (C-349/17) van 5 maart 2019 belangrijke vragen opgehelderd over de handhaving van het staatssteunrecht op nationaal niveau.

Read more

04.04.2019 NL law
Fine liability in antitrust cases is closely scrutinised by Dutch courts

Short Reads - A parent company can be held liable for a subsidiary's anti-competitive conduct if the parent has exercised decisive influence over the subsidiary, because the two are then considered a single undertaking. This is why the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) recently found that the ACM cannot simply rely on managing partners' civil liability to determine fine liability for a limited partnership's anti-competitive conduct.

Read more

10.04.2019 BE law
Acrylamide: zijn frieten ook juridisch schadelijk voor de gezondheid?

Articles - De risico’s door de aanwezigheid van acrylamide in levensmiddelen noopten de EU tot het nemen van risicobeperkende maatregelen. Exploitanten van levensmiddelenbedrijven van bepaalde levensmiddelen (o.a. frieten, chips, koekjes, …) kregen de verplichting om tal van maatregelen te nemen.  De juridische kwalificatie van acrylamide en het regime van deze maatregelen worden in deze blog toegelicht.

Read more

Our website uses functional cookies for the functioning of the website and analytic cookies that enable us to generate aggregated visitor data. We also use other cookies, such as third party tracking cookies - please indicate whether you agree to the use of these other cookies:

Privacy – en cookieverklaring