Insights UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) launches investigation into anti-competitive practices relating to the production, creation and broadcasting of TV content


Chapter I of the UK Competition Act 1998 (“CA”) prohibits agreements that have as their object or effect the restriction, prevention or distortion of competition within the UK, and which have an effect on trade within the UK. Such an agreement is void and unenforceable unless it can be shown to give rise to benefits (e.g. the agreement promotes technical or economic progress) that outweigh its anti-competitive effects.

The CMA has launched an investigation under the CA, which it is entitled to do if it reasonably suspects a breach of the Chapter I prohibition, to consider suspected breaches by several undertakings (including the BBC and ITV PLC) in relation to services provided by freelance providers, and the employment of staff, who support the production, creation and broadcasting of UK TV content (excluding sport content).

There is little further information reported currently. The CMA launched a similar investigation last year in relation to UK sports content. In that investigation, formal notices of investigation were issued to BT Group PLC, IMG Media (including Premier League Productions), ITV PLC, Sky UK Limited, the BBC and Sunset & Vine Productions Limited. According to reports, the CMA’s information gathering and analysis stage for that investigation is due to conclude in October 2023.

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