EU Accepts Studio, Sky Commitments on Pay-TV Deals


Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Sky have reached an agreement with the European Commission to address antitrust concerns over pay-TV film-licensing deals.

Clauses in the contracts between the studios and Sky had geoblocked films, restricting access to the U.K. and Ireland. They also required NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. to ensure that other platforms they were licensing films to were prevented from making their pay-TV services available in the U.K. and Ireland.

“Such clauses restrict the ability of broadcasters to accept unsolicited requests (so-called ‘passive sales’) for their pay-TV services from consumers located outside their licensed territory,” the Commission says. “The Commission had concerns that this may eliminate cross-border competition between pay-TV broadcasters and partition the EU’s Single Market along national borders.”

Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. will not apply these clauses in existing pay-TV film-licensing contracts in the EU. They have also committed to refraining from introducing such clauses in film licensing contracts for pay TV with any broadcaster in the EU.

Likewise, Sky will not apply existing clauses or introduce them in its deals with the studios.

The commitments apply for a five-year period.