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Viasat violates a decision subject to conditions imposed by the Danish Competition Council in the case of Viasat’s business terms

27. juni 2012

On 27 June 2012, the Danish Competition Council decided that Viasat has violated a decision subject to conditions imposed by the Council in the case of Viasat’s business terms.

On September 30 2009, the Council decided that Viasat’s business terms regarding the distribution of the TV-channels TV 3 and TV 3+ in cable networks were an infringement of section 6 of the Danish Competition Act and Article 81 of the EC Treaty.

The Council found that the business terms restricted open competition between the TV-channels concerning the acquirement of the most favorable package placements, because Viasat’s business terms reserved the most favorable package placement for commercial TV-channels - in the second package - for Viasat’s own TV-channels. Thereby, the business terms had the ability of squeezing competing channels out of the second package.

As a consequence, the Council decided that Viasat must cease preconditioning package placements in all of their business terms and also cease preconditioning other terms that have similar anticompetitive objectives and effects.

The decision subject to conditions imposed by the Danish Competition Council was affirmed by the Danish Competition Appeal Tribunal and The Maritime and Commercial Court.
Viasat has violated the decision subject to conditions by including a requirement in some of the conditions between Viasat as broadcaster and the local Danish cable networks that has anticompetitive objectives and effects.

The requirement states that the local cable networks have to pay for a standard package including the TV-channels TV 3, TV3+ and TV3 Puls for all households receiving anything but must carry channels. Thus, the payment is required even though the households may not wish to receive Viasat’s TV-channels.

Since most households in the concerned local cable networks have to pay for the standard package, the requirement is capable of having the effect that the local cable networks give all of Viasat’s TV-channels in the standard package the most favorable package placement – ensuring that the households who are already paying for the channels also receive them. The requirement thus has similar anticompetitive objectives and effects as did the business terms included in the 2009 case.

The local cable networks have reported to the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority that they have not been offered a negotiation of the business terms.

For further information, please contact Jacob Schaumburg Müller, +45 4171 5118.