Competition law and media
Produced in partnership with Professor Suzanne Rab of Serle Court
Competition law and media

The following TMT guidance note Produced in partnership with Professor Suzanne Rab of Serle Court provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Competition law and media
  • Market delineation and definition—what do we mean by the media?
  • Multi-layered enforcement structure
  • Sector regulation v competition law
  • Interventions in media markets
  • State aid
  • Media ownership regulation and merger control
  • Ofcom’s requirements, procedures and guidance regarding its regulation of the BBC’s impact on competition

This note reflects the law and practice up to and insofar as the UK remains a Member State of the EU. At the time of writing, it is not possible to predict, with certainty, whether the UK will remain a member of the EU beyond exit day and the nature of the UK’s future relationship with the EU following any transitional period.

Competition and diversity in media and communications are fundamental to a competitive economy and healthy democracy. The application of competition law and regulation in the media sector is a policy priority in the EU and UK, yet it is fraught with challenges.

There are a number of key themes in the sector, including:

  1. trend towards consolidation: the media sector is consolidating. For example, there has been a notable trend towards vertical integration and this is a feature of commercial transactions that has been examined closely by the competition authorities in recent merger reviews (see: Media ownership regulation and merger control below)

  2. market entry: access to content or platforms is critical to sustain market entry and expansion. Although particular owners of content or infrastructure may occupy a gatekeeper role, that conclusion is not inevitable in changing markets. Among the critical questions that have arisen in debates about the application of competition law and regulation to the media have been whether