Competition Policies and Consumer Welfare Corporate Strategies and Consumer Prices in Developing Countries
Edited by Lahcen Achy and Susan Joekes
Chapter 9: TV distribution services in Argentina
Between 1996 and 2006, progress in technology together with the convergence of networks, devices and services blurred boundaries inside the Argentinean TV industry and changed the way consumers accessed audio-visual content. The design of regulations and implementation of competition law underwent changes to reflect this. This chapter reviews the major cases dealt with by the Argentinean competition authority in the early 2000s and sheds light on the complexity of the television distribution sector. It provides lessons on the interactions between market structure, regulations and technology on the one hand and their impact on consumers’ access and the pricing of audio-visual services on the other hand. The distribution of television programmes in Argentina, as in other countries, takes place via free-to-air and pay-television using cable as well as satellite technologies. The sector involves a range of actors, among which are: ● TV channels (free-to-air or accessed via pay-TV systems). ● Pay-TV system operators (cable, satellite and terrestrial). ● Companies that supply TV channels to the pay-TV operators. ● Companies that produce television content and supply it to TV channels. Those actors relate to each other through various forms and degrees of economic integration. There are cases of vertical and horizontal integration between content producers and television channels, between cable television operators and marketing firms, and between channels owned directly by cable television operators. In this complex environment, defining the relevant market is difficult for any study of the sector from a competition policy perspective.
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