however, be declared compatible where the requirements of Article 86(2) are fulfilled (as further specified in the Broadcasting Communication87).
The Commission adopted two Decisions concerning the financing of public service broadcasters pursuant to Article 86(2) EC in combination with the Broadcasting Communication. The first concerned the approval of the financing by the Spanish Government of workforce reduction measures taken by the Spanish public service broadcaster RTVE88. Second, the Commission closed its investigation into the general financing regime in favour of public service broadcasters in Germany (ARD and ZDF)89.
In April the Commission sent a statement of objections to major record companies and Apple in relation to agreements between each record company and Apple deemed to restrict online music sales, in contravention to Article 81. During the proceedings Apple announced that it would equalise its prices for downloads of songs from its iTunes online store in Europe before mid-2008, which puts an end to the different treatment of UK consumers. On this basis, and following further clarifications, the Commission closed the case.
The Commission continues to give high priority to ensuring that premium content is made available under open and transparent conditions allowing a maximum number of operators to bid for the rights. In 2007, the Commission closed its investigation under Article 81 EC concerning the joint buying of TV rights of sports events by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and its members.
As regards merger control in the media sector the SFR/Tele2 merger may be highlighted90. This concentration was approved subject to conditions to ensure effective competition in the French pay-TV market. As regards the music industry, in the case of Sony/BMG-II91, the European Commission granted regulatory approval to a joint venture combining the recorded music businesses of Sony and Bertelsmann, after the Court of First instance had annulled the previous Commission Decision of
The Commission also cleared subject to remedies the concentration between Universal and BMG in music publishing.
The Commission continued to monitor developments in the sector on an ongoing
basis inter alia through its car price reports92. The motor vehicle block exemption
Communication from the Commission on the application of State aid rules to public service
broadcasting (OJ C 320, 15.11.2001, p. 5).
90 91 92
http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/state_aid/register/ii/doc/NN-8-2007-WLWL-07.03.2007.pdf The full text of the Decision is published in English: http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/state_aid/register/ii/doc/E-3-2005-WLWL-en-24.04.2007.pdf Case COMP/M.4504, SFR/Tele2, Commission Decision, 18.7.2007. Case COMP/M.3333, Sony/BMG-II, Commission Decision, 3.10.2007. Latest car price report published on 27 July 2007: h t t p : / / e c . e u r o p a . e u / c o m m / c o m p e t i t i o n / s e c t o r s / m o t o r _ v e h i c l e s / p r i c e s / 2 0 0 7 _ 0 5 _ f u l l . p d f