In March 2019, the European Commission (“EC”) closed its investigation into the licensing practices of a number of Hollywood studios and large European pay-TV broadcasters (Case AT.40023 ‘Cross-border access to pay-TV’, initiated in January 2014) after the parties accepted legally binding commitments to change their practices.
The EC investigated territorial restrictions in Pay-TV broadcasting, which allegedly violated competition law (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)) by restricting customers in certain European countries from accessing pay-TV movies which were shown by Pay-TV operators in other countries, a practice also referred to as ‘geo-blocking’.
Compass Lexecon advised NBC Universal, one of the movie studios subject to the EC’s investigation. We assessed the efficiency benefits from the territorial restrictions and conducted an analysis regarding the alleged anticompetitive effects.
Our team, led by Lorenzo Coppi, and including Stefano Trento, Kadu Prasad, Raquel Diez, Agata Lewicka, Michele Avagliano, Gwilhem Charbonnier and Su-Ann Lim, worked with lawyers from Clifford Chance.