The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has written to the European Commission to express its concerns about the merger of Belgian media groups Corelio, W&W and De Vijver Media with Liberty Global-owned cable operator Telenet.
The EBU is concerned that after the merger, Telenet will act as both gatekeeper through its hold on TV distribution in Flanders, and content provider. The acquisitions will give it control of production group Woestijnvis and TV channels Vier and Vijf, which will compete with other commercial and public broadcasters.
The EBU said that “the merger could have a severe impact on competition in the Belgian broadcasting markets, since the new company will have the incentive to squeeze out other broadcasters from the network to build its own retail market share”.
The EBU said that there is currently no legal guarantee that public service broadcasters’ on-demand services will be carried on cable. The EBU said that, if the merger goes ahead, the EC should impose remedies to ensure that public broadcasters receive non-discriminatory and fair access to the Telenet network.