The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating broadcasters and production companies, including the BBC, ITV, Hat Trick and Tiger Aspect, for potential breaches of anti-trust laws. The CMA said that whilst it believes there are reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law, the CMA has not yet reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement.
This latest case follows on from a separate investigation launched in July 2022 into a number of media companies (including the BBC) into suspected breaches of competition law in relation to their use of freelancers in the production and broadcasting of sports content. It was suggested that there had been possible cartel-like behaviour amongst the companies involved.
The latest case is similar and expected to evaluate any potential price-setting or collusion amongst the broadcasters to fix pay rates for their freelancers. Freelance production staff have complained that broadcasters tend to pay similar rates, with any increases not necessarily reflecting inflation or the increase in the cost of living.
TV confirmed that it had received a case initiation notice from the CMA. In a statement, ITV said “ITV is committed to complying with competition law and to cooperating with the CMA’s inquiries. ITV does not propose to comment further at this stage.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC notes the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) announcement and will fully cooperate with the CMA’s inquiries.”