The Investigations Division of the Spanish National Competition Commission (Comisión Nacional de la Competencia or “CNC”) has initiated proceedings against Mediaproducción, S.L. (Mediapro) and its wholly owned subsidiary Gol Televisión, S.L. for possible anti-competitive practices. The investigation relates to the resale of broadcasting rights for the Spanish football league and Copa del Rey (King's Cup) tournament matches to other TV operators for the 2009/2010 and subsequent seasons.
The initiation of proceedings is the result of a “reserved information procedure” in which the Investigations Division examined the offers submitted by Mediapro to other pay-TV and open-broadcast operators for the rights to broadcast matches and highlights of the football league and Copa del Rey tournament in Spain, as well as the agreements eventually reached by Mediapro.
The preliminary reserved investigation was in conjunction with a complaint filed by Canal Satélite Digital, S.L. (a member of the Sogecable group) claiming that Mediapro had refused to provide it with the broadcast signal for the league and Copa del Rey football matches broadcast under pay per view (PPV) in Spain. Mediapro had tied provision of the signal to the contracting and marketing of “Gol Bar”, the Mediapro service for hotels, restaurants, bars and cafeterias. In connection with the complaint, Sogecable petitioned the CNC to adopt interim measures to require Mediapro to provide it with the PPV signal for the matches, without having to contract the “Gol Bar” service. The request for interim relief is currently being studied by the CNC Council.
The information obtained during the investigation indicates that the configuration of broadcasting rights packages offered, the terms of the agreements with Mediapro, and the conditions under which Mediapro offer to supply the signal for the league and Copa del Rey football matches broadcast under PPV, may be contrary to the Spanish Competition Act. They may, therefore, be detrimental to competition in the market and in particular to the pay-TV market.
The CNC has a maximum term of 18 months to investigate and resolve this case.