FTA channels oppose AT&T-Time Warner deal in Brazil

During a public hearing held this week in the Commission of Science and Technology, Communication and Information Technology of the Chamber of Deputies, executives of Abert and Abratel, entities representing main free-to-air channels, presented their arguments against AT&T- Time Warner merger.
According to Abert, which represents Globo, SBT and Band, the acquisition is a “clear violation of the SeAC Law.” According to Marcelo Bechara, director of regulation of Globo and representative of Abert, “a company cannot fully dominate the entire value chain of the pay TV service, that is, production, programming, packaging and distribution of the service”.
In Brazil AT&T operates the DTH service Sky. The acquisition of Time Warner, also gives it full control of HBO’s premium channels and Turner, owner of TNT and Cartoon Network, among other networks. Bechara also recalled that broadcasters like Globo and Band, abandoned their pay TV businesses to comply with the law, which bans cross-ownership.
Cláudio Paixão, a lawyer from Abratel, which represents Record TV, said that the SeAC Law prevents the verticalization of the value chain between those who produce and distribute audiovisual content, so the merger cannot be approved without a legislative alteration”.
AT&T-Time Warner merger was approved by Cade (Administrative Council for Economic Defense), with restrictions, in October 2017. The deal must still be validated by the regulatory agencies Anatel and Ancine, whose representatives attended the Congress hearing.