Mediaset and Atresmedia face €100m fines over abuse of dominant positions
Mediaset and Atresmedia, the Spanish commercial broadcasters, each face fines of up to €100 million ($115 million) over alleged abuse of their dominant market positions.
The threat comes from CNMC, the Spanish competition regulator and relates to the broadcasters’ contracts with advertisers and media agencies that the CNMC maintains are in breach of Spanish competition law.
Such breaches are in theory punishable by fines of up to 10 per cent of the broadcasters’ sales in 2018, amounting to about €100 million in both cases.
Mediaset España operates popular free-to-air commercial television channels including Telecinco and Cuatro and is the largest television network in Spain, with an audience share of 28 per cent.
While it cannot compete with the likes of telecoms giant Telefónica and sports rights agency Mediapro for premium LaLiga and Uefa Champions League soccer rights, it has established itself as the home of showpiece international soccer events.
All 64 matches from last year’s World Cup were shown on Telecinco or Cuatro, and Mediaset España has since secured Spanish rights to the 2020 European Championships, Uefa qualifying matches (not involving Spain) for Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup, and the new Uefa Nations League.
Atresmedia owns the popular Antena 3 channel which held Champions League rights between 2015 and 2018.