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PRO TV Chisinau Repeatedly Requested Intervention of the National Authority to Protect Competition on the Advertising Market Competition Council: the Investigation is in Progress

29 May 2018
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Last week, PRO TV Chisinau television broadcaster once again applied to the Competition Council (CC) regarding the complaint submitted to the CC by four broadcasters on the alleged cartel agreement at the advertising market. The TV channel affirms it did not receive any reply on the issuance of the order on investigation of this case and requested information on the complaint status. The broadcaster also demands urgent intervention of the Council, claiming it is ‘largely affected by this situation.’ The CC representatives in their turn declared that the investigations on this complaint are currently ‘in progress.’

PRO TV Chisinau, RTR-Moldova, Jurnal TV and TV 8 have filed a joint complaint to the CC back on 19 January, accusing two sales houses – Casa Media and Exclusive Sales House – of having concluded a cartel agreement, thereby creating abuse of their dominant position on the market. The notification was simultaneously sent to the Moldovan authorities and the foreign embassies accredited in Chisinau.
Catalin Giosan, the administrator of ICS Pro Digital SRL Company that owns PRO TV Chișinău, requested from the CC (by a separate letter sent on 23 May) the status of the joint complaint filed in January. It also pointed to the expiry of the term for issuance of the order on carrying out the investigation, with ‘no such order being issued.’

The Administration also states that the alleged cartel agreement has been creating an alarming situation on the media market and especially on the audiovisual advertising market, and that the state of the field has worsened over this period.
The letter also touches upon the advertising market shares obtained by the two sales houses. Thus, according to PRO TV Chisinau Administration, the two advertising sales houses took over more than 50% of the advertising market during the first four months of the year. The letter says that more that 10 clients have signed contracts with two sales houses as of the moment of filing the complaint. Currently, there are above 160 contracts.

PRO TV Chisinau claims that it is ‘largely affected’ by the situation and wants the CC to urgently intervene in order to sanction those in fault, demanding cancellation of the contracts signed with the two sales houses so far.
Cristina Zara, Deputy Head of the Policy and Public Relations Department of CC, specified for the that the authority has already launched an investigation into the case, which is currently ‘in progress.’ She added tat all the legal terms for initiating the investigation were met, while the duration of the investigation depends on the severity of the case.

According to the complaint filed by four TV broadcasters in January, Casa Media and Exclusiv sales houses that own 75% of the advertising market, distribute clients’ budgets in proportion of 80 to 20 percent, offering additional discounts of up to 50% to those who conclude exclusive contracts with them.
The media market issues caught the eye of the foreign embassies and were reported by the nongovernmental organisations as well.
Previously, the representatives of the two sales houses denied the existence of a cartel agreement between them.