Sole control : The Belgian Competition Authority clears a vertical merger in the audiovisual sector, subject to conditions (Telenet Group BVBA / De Vijver Media NV)

On 13 May 2019, the Belgian competition authority cleared Telenet’s acquisition of De Vijver Media, subject to remedies. The acquisition gave Telenet – a Belgian cable operator – sole control over De Vijver Media, a broadcaster of TV channels. TV channels are an input for cable operators, who bundle them and distribute them to their subscribers as a package. The merger was therefore a vertical merger. It is part of a broader wave of vertical integration between content providers and TV distributors, often said to be a response to the threat of vertically integrated entities like Netflix and Amazon. The decision constitutes an interesting example of how vertical effects are assessed. It also analyses the role that data, platforms and algorithms play in the distribution of TV content and

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