The European Commission is set to launch an antitrust investigation into the sale of premium sports and movies rights that could break the model of geographically-restricted rights deals within the EU, according to press reports. According to the Financial Times, The Commission’s planned investigation follows on from the European Court of Justice ruling in 2011 on the case of Portsmouth pub landlady Karen Murphy, who was fined for showing English Premier League football via a Greek satellite service in her licensed premises. The court ruled that any consumer could buy a TV decoder smartcard in any country.The new investigation will focus on whether territorial protection clauses that prevent operators that license rights from making their services available across EU borders break competition laws, and could last several years, according to the paper.
Comcast is exploring the possibility of “launching a global NBC-Sky news channel later this year”, according to CEO Brian Roberts.Speaking on Comcast’s Q1 earnings call, Roberts said that Comcast was moving ahead to combine key NBCUniversal and Sky assets, including some European TV channels and global content distribution businesses as well as to collaborate more closely on advertising.Roberts gave no other details of plans for the news channel. However CFO Michael Cavanagh pointed out that Comcast and Sky are already collaborating in news and event coverage, while Sky News has already launched on Comcast’s X1 boxes.“As we begin this new chapter of our combined company, its early days, but we are finding significant areas for collaboration,” said Roberts.He highlighted the expansion of AdSmart, bringing together NBCUniversal’s advanced targeting solutions and Sky’s addressable advertising tools, as “a first step towards creating a global premium video offering for advertisers”.Other areas of collaboration include the integration of Sky Vision with NBC’s global TV distribution, the enhancement of Sky’s products with Comcast Cable’s XFi and voice technology and the leveraging of each other’s content by sharing Universal films and TV shows as well as Sky Sports and NBC Sports Network programming.One of the conditions set by the UK government to approve Comcast’s takeover of Sky was that Sky News would need to maintain its editorial neutrality under its new owner.Roberts said at the time that Comcast was “fully committed to ensuring Sky News’ future, maintaining its editorial independence, and preserving its strong track record for trusted, high quality, impartial news.”