The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into “suspected anti-competitive behaviour relating to freelance and employed labour in the production, creation and/or broadcasting of television content.”

The companies named in the investigation are the BBC, Hartswood Films Limited, Hat Trick Productions Limited, ITV PLC, Red Planet Pictures Limited, Sister Pictures Limited and Tiger Aspect Productions Limited.

The CMA says a separate but similar investigation is underway in the sports content production world into “suspected breaches of competition law by at least” the British Broadcasting Corporation, BT Group PLC, IMG Media Limited (including Premier League Productions), ITV PLC, Sky UK Limited and Sunset & Vine Productions Limited

The CMA has launched the non-sports content investigation under section 25 of the Competition Act 1998 into “a suspected infringement or infringements of the Chapter I prohibition of the CA98 by a number of undertakings involved in the production, creation and/or broadcasting of television content.”

The investigation concerns “the activities of these undertakings in relation to the purchase of services from freelance providers, and the employment of staff, who support the production, creation and/or broadcasting of television content in the UK, excluding sport content.”

There are no further details given by the CMA on what the alleged breaches are or why these particular companies are under investigation.

The CMA said it believes it has reasonable grounds to suspect “one or more breaches of competition law.” and said it “has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections to any party or parties. Not all cases result in the CMA issuing a statement of objections and no assumption should be made at this stage that the CA98 has been infringed.”

Jon Creamer

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