On 13 January 2014 the European Commission (Commission) launched a formal competition law investigation into pay-TV licensing arrangements (see press release at:  The investigation focuses on the licensing provisions in agreements between major US film studios (Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, NBC Universal and Paramount Pictures) and Europe’s pay-TV broadcasters including BSkyB, Canal+, Sky Italia, Sky Deutschland and DTS.  The Commission will investigate whether the arrangements prevent cross-border provision of pay-TV services.   

The investigation could have wide reaching effect on the business models of content owners who license their rights on the basis of exclusive territories. This development was foreshadowed in an earlier post on this blog written in collaboration with Suzanne Rab, independent competition law barrister and Alison Sprague, economist [see here for New Media Law News » Blog Archive » DO EXCLUSIVE LICENCES FOR MEDIA RIGHTS BREACH EUROPEAN LAW?].

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