A probe by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is underway, targeting prominent production companies for potential antitrust breaches in their engagement of freelance crew members. The companies under investigation include BBC, ITV, Hartswood Films, Sister, Hat Trick Productions, Red Planet Pictures, and Tiger Aspect Productions.
CMA has cited “reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law” in the production of scripted content, particularly in the drama and comedy sectors. The specific allegations remain undisclosed at this time.
A parallel investigation is ongoing in the realm of sport production. Companies such as BBC, BT, IMG, ITV, Sky, and Sunset & Vine Productions are also subject to scrutiny in this separate case.
The investigation has been initiated under section 25 of the Competition Act, designed to prevent the “prevention, restriction, or distortion of competition” within the UK. The CMA emphasized that no conclusions should be drawn about legal violations at this stage.
The investigative process will continue until March 2024, following which the CMA will determine whether to issue a “statement of objections.” If wrongdoing is established, the CMA holds the authority to impose fines of up to 10% of an organization’s global revenue, with the potential of causing a significant impact on the media and production industry in the UK.
In response to the probe, ITV stated, “ITV is committed to complying with competition law and to cooperating with the CMA’s inquiries.” The BBC also pledged its full cooperation with the CMA’s inquiries.
Source: Dead Line