Competition Authority fines PT Multimédia and SIC

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The Competition Authority decided to fine SIC and PT Multimédia for the agreement established by the two companies in March 2000 for considering that the contract restricts competition in the cable television distribution market, which may have led to the entry of new channels in service.

The partnership, valid for ten years and renewable for another five, provides that PT Multimédia, through TV Cabo, has the exclusive marketing rights of the channels SIC – SIC Notícias, SIC, Mulher, SIC, Radical, and SIC Gold, currently called SIC Comédia – for the basic package of the transmission service. On the other hand, the Pinto Balsemão station assigned the channel’s marketing rights to PT Multimédia.

According to a report by Público, in 2001 TVI proposed the entry of some thematic channels in the cable service, namely «TVI Economia, Mulheres Activas – TVI LUX, TVI Tempos Livres, TVI Batatoon and TVI Homem», with SIC SIC Mulher was launched in 2002 and prevented «the launch of the thematic economy channel through the inclusion of economic themes in SIC Notícias, thus anticipating the projects of its potential competitor».

For the non-competitive clauses practiced by the companies, the regulatory authority decided to impose a joint fine for violation of competition protection laws in the order of 3.04 million euros, of which PT Multimédia will have to pay 2.5 million euros, which corresponds to 0.4 percent of the company’s turnover.

In addition to the fine, the Autoridade da Concorrência has given 30 days for the terms of the contract between SIC and PT Multimédia to be changed.

SIC announced in a statement that the decision taken by the regulatory authority is «purely administrative», with the television station planning to appeal to the Competent Court for being «at odds with the determination of the Competition Authority.

The same statement says that «these clauses have nothing to do with the normal continuation of the production and distribution of the channels SIC Notícias, SIC Radical, SIC Comédia and SIC Mulher».

PTM writes in a statement that it is still analyzing the decision and that “it will decide its position in relation to this process in due course”.

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2001-06-01 – SIC and PTM partner for Digital TV