Injunction against TDF TV broadcasting contracts

Conseil de la concurrence decision (32 pages in French, PDF) prohibiting, on an interim basis pending investigation, the French incumbent television broadcasting operator TDF from enforcing some exit restrictions in its contracts with the main French TV companies for analog terrestrial broadcasting.

The substance of the abuse allegation made by competitor Emettel is that the contracts, entered into shortly before liberalisation of TV broadcasting services, contain excessive exclusivity conditions; and that given the economies of scope between analog and digital terrestrial broadcasting this precludes competitive entry into digital terrestrial broadcasting.

In response to the argument raised by TDF that the exit restrictions were an important part of the balance of the contract and could not be severed, the decision states that "it is not within the Conseil's powers to require parties to renegotiate a new contract"; but that the Conseil can take interim measures that require contractual clauses to be suspended if "they are the cause of a restriction on competition that might constitute an abuse of a dominant position" (paragraph 137).

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Conseil de la concurrence, France.

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