Sports & General

UK’s CMA probes media giants over potential competition law infringements



The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into seven major media companies, including BBC, ITV (LON:ITV), Hartswood Films, Hat Trick Productions, Red Planet Pictures, Sister Pictures, and Tiger Aspect Productions. The probe, which was initiated on Thursday, focuses on potential violations of competition law within the TV industry, excluding sports content.

The CMA is particularly examining the companies’ engagement with freelance crew members in scripted content production. This scrutiny follows leaked emails to the FT earlier this year that suggested possible price collusion among freelance camera operators in sports content. The emails prompted an investigation in April.

As part of the ongoing investigation process, ITV has received a case initiation notice from the CMA. The company has publicly committed to fully cooperate with the CMA’s inquiries and comply with competition law. However, ITV refrained from making any further comments.

The investigation is based on suspicions of one or more breaches of section 25 of the Competition Act. The CMA has reasonable grounds for its probe but has yet to issue a “statement of objections.” If any misconduct is discovered during the investigative process, which is set to continue until March 2024, the CMA may impose fines up to 10% of the companies’ global revenues.

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