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EU targets UK's Sky TV & 6 Hollywood studios in antitrust probe
Culture & Life

EU targets UK's Sky TV & 6 Hollywood studios in antitrust probe

23.07.2015 From our online archive
The EU's anti-trust regulator on Thursday accused six major Hollywood studios and Britain's Sky TV pay channel of using movie licenses to block access to their content in other EU countries.

The EU's anti-trust regulator on Thursday accused six major Hollywood studios and Britain's Sky TV pay channel of using movie licenses to block access to their content in other EU countries.

Under investigation along with the Britain and Ireland's Sky pay TV network are six Hollywood film studios: Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros.

"European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU. Our EU economy Internet antitrust investigation shows that they cannot do this today," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

"We believe that this may be in breach of EU competition rules," she said.

Digital media in the EU is sharply divided across national lines and the European Commission, the bloc's powerful executive body, has made breaking those barriers one of its top priorities.

The Commission's accusation "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 pay-TV services available in the UK and Ireland."

Specifically, subscribers to the Sky TV's network of channels are blocked from accessing it offerings of films and TV series once outside Britain and Ireland.

The commission also said it was still examining similar cases involving Canal Plus of France, Sky Italia of Italy, Sky Deutschland of Germany and DTS of Spain. 

 If the Competition Commissioner's challenge proves successful, it could open up more access to international television, including English language channels, sorely missing in countries like Luxembourg.  

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