Antitrust Cross-border Pay-TV Case: Accommodating Contractual Freedom Within the EU’s Single Market Objective

By Agustin Reyna (BEUC, The European Consumer Organisation)

This is a commentary of the judgement of the General Court of 12 December 2018 which dismissed the appeal brought by the French broadcaster Groupe Canal + against the Commission’s decision accepting the commitments offered by Paramount in the cross-border pay-TV case (AT.40023). This ruling confirms, on one side, the broad appreciation powers of the Commission when accepting commitments offered by an undertaking in the context of Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003 and, on the other side, the anti-competitive nature of clauses included in licensing agreements between right holders and broadcasters aiming at eliminating cross-border competition through the restriction of cross-border passive sales.

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