Spain's local operators see Telefónica-Canal+ buyout as threat to competition

DetailsJuan Fernandez Gonzalez | 04 May 2015

Spain's association for local telecoms operators, Asociación Nacional de Operadores de Telecomunicaciones e Internet (AOTEC), believes Telefónica's acquisition of Spain's second largest pay-TV operator, Canal+, will damage competition under current conditions.

AOTEC has stated that the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) should have been more demanding when it agreed to the conditions of the buy-out two weeks ago.

Telefónica will be required to share all its premium rights with other pay-TV platforms - who will be able to choose up to 50% of this content - and will give up exclusivity for video-on-demand (VOD) rights.

The AOTEC considers the conditions are not stringent enough, and will lead to monopolisation within the coming years, one of the main fears of both authorities and other telecom operators since the move was first put forward. And the fears aren't for nothing: Telefónica's Movistar TV has two million subs and Canal+ has 1.6 million, with the resultant company owning nearly 70% of Spain's pay-TV market.

According to the AOTEC it is impossible for local operators to raise complaints against the buyout or influence the outcome as a formal complaint takes up to three years to be resolved due to bureaucracy, making it difficult for smaller operators to have a say in the process.