Apritel reaffirmed today that it is in favor of changes in the regulatory model in force for the content area. The Association of Telecommunications Operators argues that regulation in this area ceases to be done only a posteriori, as is the case now, to be done also in anticipation (ex-ante) as it already happens in other areas. He also defends, as explained by President João Couto, that it may be interesting for the sector to change not only the regulatory model, but also the protagonist, in this case the regulator.
Content regulation is currently in charge of the Competition Authority. The association believes that it would make sense to be “the same regulator looking at the electronic communications and content market”, which in recent years has converged and is now strongly interconnected defended João Couto.
Apritel’s position, already expressed before, was reinforced today with the conclusions of a study presented by the association, which recognizes the enormous weight that Pay TV assumes today in the operators’ business.
Two-thirds of households with television are now subscribers to pay television services and the penetration of these services is expected to continue to grow, at a rate of 8 percent per year until 2014.
The study, carried out by Maksen Consulting, identified some problems in the market with an impact on competition, for which it suggests medicines that Apritel now intends to take to the decision-making bodies on the subject.
Among the main conclusions, we highlight the fact that there are significant differences in size between operators competing in the Portuguese market, with different negotiating skills, which ends up generating impacts on the conditions of access to content.
An “artificial weight of the scale effect” is identified in the market and, in terms of wholesale offers, it is emphasized that the minimum invoicing values, imposed by the holders of some content to make them available, have different impacts on operators with different dimensions and create inequalities.
The most valuable television content is sports and films, which alone account for a third of the pay-TV revenues.
In the legal component, the study sought to evaluate alternatives to the current regulatory model and concluded that there are three possibilities: alteration of the regulatory model, of the protagonist of regulation (from AdC to one of the two sectoral regulators involved in the area, ERC and Anacom) or a mix of both, which is the model being adopted by countries like the United Kingdom.
This last solution is also the one advocated by Apritel associates who, unanimously, also subscribed to the remaining conclusions of the study.