Q&As

How are state aid rules applied in respect of public service broadcasting?

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Published on LexisPSL on 19/01/2017

The following Competition Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How are state aid rules applied in respect of public service broadcasting?

How are state aid rules applied in respect of public service broadcasting?

There are sector specific rules in relation to state aid and broadcasting. We refer you to Commentary: Public Service Broadcasting and State Aid: Butterworths Competition Law Service [2331].

In order for there to be state aid under Article 107 TFEU: (i) there must be an intervention by the state or by means of state resources; (ii) the intervention must be liable to affect trade between Member States; (iii) it must confer an advantage on the beneficiary; (iv) it must distort or threaten to distort competition.

Broadcasters with a public service mandate are typically funded out of a state budget or through levies on citizens that own broadcasting equipment (eg the TV licence in the UK). This public funding is generally considered to distort the internal market as public service broadcasters from various countries compete with each other, and with private companies, for the rights to television programmes and events, as well as advertising contracts where permitted by national rules. Therefore, in most cases the first two criteria will be met.

If the third criterion—whether an advantage is conferred on the

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