France’s competition watchdog, the Autorité de la Concurrence, announced that it will launch an in-depth review, known as “phase 2,” of the merger project of TF1 and M6, the country’s top two commercial broadcasters.
According to the regulator, it was necessary to conduct a more in-depth investigation following its initial probe into the views of the parties’ suppliers, competitors and customers in the markets for the acquisition of rights, the publishing and distribution of TV services and advertising.
The watchdog has thus far conducted hearings with a number of players and has surveyed around 1.000 advertisers likely to be affected by the merger of the country’s two groups. Now, the Autorité will run an in-depth probe into the acquisition of rights, the publishing and marketing of TV channels, distribution and advertising.
The regulator said the probe would take into account “the development of new uses” of audiovisual services and “the competitive pressure exerted by the digital operators” cited as a justification for the merger. Moreover, the Autorité de la Concurrence will seek the views of ARCOM, the new combined media and antipiracy watchdog that emerged from the fusion of the CSA and Hadopi agencies, and ARCEP, the country’s telecoms regulator.