Concessions offered by Sony-Zee as watchdog raises concerns

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and Zee Entertainment have reportedly offered concessions in order to get their merger over the line.

Announced in December 202, the merger would create a US$10 billion media behemoth across TV, cinema and streaming with around 92 channels.

The pair however received notice from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) last month, which argued the merged entity would have “humongous market position” and “unparalleled bargaining power”.

The main concerns focused on advertising and channel pricing, particularly in the Hindi language segment.

In response, the pair last week submitted ‘voluntary remedies’ in order to allay the watchdog’s concerns. According to Reuters, these do not include structural changes or the sale of any channels, but instead focus on ‘behavioural remedies’.

The cited source said that the merged company is open to offering mandatory pricing incentives and discounts to all channel distributors for a certain period after the time. The pair have also proposed creating and operating “independent advertising verticals” for a certain period. 

The CCI will now assess the proposals and will be free to accept or reject them, or demand further concessions.

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