Six major Hollywood movie studios stand accused of illegally restricting access to content in an antitrust case filed by European regulators.
The complaint involves the studios’ business dealings with British pay-TV giant Sky, which may breach competition rules according to the European Commission.
The commission alleges Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. all made improper licensing agreements with Sky U.K. that prohibit viewers outside of Britain and Ireland from accessing U.S. films, TV shows and other content screened by the broadcaster.
“European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy. “Our investigation shows that they cannot do this today.”
Most of the studios are still considering their responses but Burbank’s Walt Disney Co. has already vowed to fight the action, issuing a statement saying, “Our approach is one that supports local creative industries, local digital and broadcast partners and most importantly consumers in every country across the EU. The impact of the commission’s analysis is destructive of consumer value and we will oppose the proposed action vigorously.”
A Sky spokesperson told the Los Angeles Business Journal, “We have received a statement setting out the commission’s preliminary views. We will consider this and respond in due course.”