AT&T wants to manage Sky and other Brazilian pay TV channels

‘We follow Brazilian Law at 100%’, said Michael Hartman, AT&T senior vice president to Paulist newspaper Estado, related to the decision that Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) and National Film Agency (Ancine) must make, in which they will define whether AT&T will be able to continue providing satellite content to Sky and other channels such as TNT, Space and HBO, which it acquired after merging with Time Warner, in October 2016.

Conditional Access Law (SeaC), which regulates Brazilian pay TV market, does not allow the same group to produce and, at the same time, control TV or telephony operators. But, according to Hartman, AT&T follows Brazilian Law because its content production operations are not based in Brazil.

‘If that point of view is valid, any other operator could set a production company abroad and start selling in Brazil’, expressed Eduardo Tude, Telco’s president, and said that ‘what they are trying to do is to infringe the Law’, and that ‘AT&T is trying to defend its Law and avoid selling Sky in Brazil’. Hartman also ruled that, in case AT&T has to break any of it Brazilian operations down, the decision would be ‘detrimental to Brazilian consumers’, due to offers reduction and market concentration.

2011’s Conditional Access Law (N° 12,485), planned to reduce market concentration as one of its main purposes. In 2017, Economic Defense Administrative Council (Cade) imposed on AT&T to take competitors into consideration, and distributed Time Warner channels to Claro / Net and Vivo. Council, however, considered it necessary for Anatel and Ancine to pronounce themselves on SeaC Law. Anatel is expected to make a decision before third quarter end, and Ancine will decide it by the end of 2019.