UK regulator investigates TV drama producers for potential cartel-like behaviour
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating scripted drama producers for suspected cartel-like behaviour, such as sharing information to fix freelancer pay rates.
The CMA is a UK government agency that enforces competition law. It is investigating whether a number of TV drama producers have broken competition law by sharing information about how much they pay freelancers.
If found guilty, the companies could be fined up to 10% of their turnover and ordered to change how they work.
The CMA is also investigating similar behaviour in the sports broadcasting industry.
Freelancers in the TV and creative industries have long complained that they are at the mercy of client rates, which have hardly changed in the past decade. Some freelancers may feel that they are being exploited.
The CMA’s investigation could lead to changes in the way that TV drama producers and other companies hire freelancers.
Which companies are being investigated?
The CMA is investigating suspected breaches of competition law by at least the following undertakings: the British Broadcasting Corporation, Hartswood Films Limited, Hat Trick Productions Limited, ITV PLC, Red Planet Pictures Limited, Sister Pictures Limited and Tiger Aspect Productions Limited.
At this stage, the CMA believes it has “reasonable grounds” to suspect one or more breaches of competition law.
“The CMA has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections to any party or parties. Not all cases result in the CMA issuing a statement of objections and no assumption should be made at this stage that the CA98 has been infringed,” said the CMA.
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