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The Competition Council Still ‘Investigates’ - for 11 Months! - the Complaint of Four Broadcasters Regarding Possible Cartel Agreement Between Two Advertising Sales Houses

14 November 2018
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PRO TV Chisinau, RTR-Moldova, Jurnal TV and TV 8 - four TV channels lodged a common complaint to Competition Council (CC) on 19 January 2018, in which they accused Casa Media and Exclusive Sales House advertising sales houses of concluding a cartel agreement. Since then, 11 months have passed, but complaint is still investigated and CC has not provided them a clear answer to the question. Representative of TV8 Mariana Rata claims that according to the content of the requests, CC activity in this case gave her impression that authority is more concerned with the complaining channels than with those that established the monopoly on advertising market.

When asked by Media-Azi.md to inform about the conduct of case investigation, senior consultant of Policy and Public Relations Department, Cristina Zara, declared that complaint of the four broadcasters is still investigated. ‘Until there will be a decision, we can not provide you details in order not to impede the conduct of the investigation’  When there will be the decision - we will inform you’, Cristina Zara told us. Previously, to the question of Media-azi.md on duration of investigation at the Competition Council, the official answered that ‘investigations can last depending on the complexity of the case’.

Mariana Raţă, representative of TV8, in her turn claims that national competition authority requested different information from the administration of TV8 during the investigation period. In her opinion, information was not related to the subject of complaint.
‘We have the sensation that we are ‘investigated’, but not those who organised the cartel. We are also asked about things that we did not include in the complaint’ Mariana Rata said.

As regards the Tender Committee, newly created by the Broadcasting Coordination Council (BCC), which will soon have to choose company that will measure TV audience, Mariana Rata was skeptical because there are no representative of an independent TV channel among the members of this Committee. ‘The way in which this Committee was created, somehow demonstrates that it will represent the interests of only a part of the press, unfortunately, not of independent press and the largest segment of the press. We did not expect that there would be nobody from the independent press. It would be logical that there would be Pro TV at least’, Rata mentioned.

We remind that representatives of TV stations and Casa Media Corp. and Exclusiv Sales House advertising companies, affiliated to the Democratic Party and Party of Socialists, are among the members of Tender Committee which will select the company of TV audience measurement.
According to the January complaint of the four TV stations, Casa Media and Exclusiv that hold 75% of the advertising market, starting with this year, distribute from 80% to 20% of its clients’ budgets, offering additional discounts up to 50% to those who conclude exclusive contracts with them.
Media market issues drawn the attention of foreign embassies and were also noticed by NGOs.
Note that representatives of the two advertising sales houses denied the existence of cartel agreements between them.