CCI to assess media, broadcasting sector, says sources

Reuters NEW DELHI | Updated on August 27, 2019

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India's antitrust watchdog plans to conduct an assessment of the country's media and broadcasting sector to ensure that any competition concerns are identified and resolved swiftly, a government document seen by Reuters showed.

The study will be among the first after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asked the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to initiate more cases on its own to investigate antitrust practices and conduct market studies.

A source said that the study is not linked to any ongoing investigation, and that it will examine the competition landscape in a sector that includes the likes of Walt Disney's Star India and Reliance Industries.

India's vibrant media sector is also crowded with hundreds of television news channels, newspapers and online news websites, which deliver content in various languages. “This (study) would ensure that new practices and technologies in this dynamic sector, which may be affecting competition adversely, are identified quickly and remedial measures...are adopted fast,” the CCI said in the document.

The CCI did not respond to a request for comment.

The watchdog is in the process of choosing an independent agency to conduct the study on its behalf, the source said.

‘Will make CCI better’

Nisha Kaur Uberoi, head of competition law at Indian law firm Trilegal, said that such studies will make the CCI better equipped to address competition concerns and speed the approval process in regulatory reviews of mergers and acquisitions.

The assessment of the media and broadcasting sector will seek to assess the regulatory frameworks, ownership patterns and market trends in terms of viewers and advertisers, the 19-page CCI document said.

The study will cover print, electronic and online media, broadcasting companies, content providers and industry bodies, it said, citing the effects of rapid technological change on the sector's competition landscape.

Published on August 27, 2019

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