Watching the mega corporations who have managed to avoid any real regulation in NZ burst into tears over not being able to get their anti-competition mergers is just delightful.
The merger Vodafone NZ and Sky TV were seeking would likely have gone ahead had it not been for Sky’s premium sport content, the Commerce Commission said after declining the proposal today.
About half of all households in New Zealand had Sky TV and a large number of those were Sky Sport customers, Commission chair Dr Mark Berry said.
“Given the merged entity’s ability to leverage its premium live sports content, we cannot rule out the real chance that demand for its offers would attract a large number of non-Vodafone customers.
“The central question that we considered in this case was whether the merged entity would be able to leverage Sky’s premium sports content to such an extent that over time it would reduce competition in the telecommunications markets, being broadband and mobile,” he said.
“There is, as you would expect, a very significant consumer segment for whom Sky Sport is a must-have.”
He added: “Sky Sport has all the important content that is the glue to which New Zealanders are attached — rugby, cricket and so on.”
To clear the merger, the Commission would need to have been satisfied that it was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any of the relevant markets, Berry said.
Sky have benefitted from no regulation and has made massive profits. Allowing Sky to merge with Vodaphone would have given them a brand new platform to continue their dominance.
Any public broadcasting reforms need to look at a levy on Sky and the telecommunication companies like Vodaphone to directly fund public broadcasting. These corporations have enjoyed a free market approach while our media landscape has gone backwards.
It’s about time they started paying back.
Fairfax however have managed to take their beef with the Commerce Commission to a whole new level.
The Fairfax boss has again threatened NZ with huge staff cuts in journalism if we don’t give him his Newspaper Monopoly.
Fairfax Media has drawn up plans for cuts in the event the country’s competition watchdog rejects its proposed merger with rival publisher NZME.
I say, good riddance to bad rubbish. Bugger off then and allow those of us who want to do real news and journalism a clear playing field.
We have all been surprised by how the Commerce Commission has refused these mergers and it’s important to acknowledge why that has happened.
The first is that the mergers themselves are horrific in size. They would allow such a dominance in our market we would look more like North Korea than regulated capitalism. It is testament to how huge the Sky/Vodaphone and NZME/Fairfax mergers would be that the Commerce Commission has turned them down.
The second reason why this has happened is our media academics have written such scathing attacks that the Commerce Commission has had no choice but to listen.
We owe these academics a huge depth of gratitude for protecting us from corporate media power.