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Unpublished Paper
Multiplatform Competition and State Aid in EU Digital TV: A Comparative Assessment
Proceedings the 2008 EUCPR Conference, ITPS-JRC, Seville. (2008)
  • Nicola Matteucci, Polytechnic University of Marche
Abstract

We analyse the recent EU experience in DTV policy-making, focusing on the introduction of the terrestrial platform (DTT) and the digital switch-over. The DTT launch campaign was actively supported by member states, while the EU Institutions have tried to shape the policy mix emphasising points such as market liberalization, facility-based competition, market-oriented and technologically neutral policy-making. The paper reviews the most important UE cases brought in front of the Commission, starting from the German case, which underwent the first negative decision concerning state aid in DTT deployment, since its policy was found violating the neutrality principle. Then, it moves to briefly sketch the France and UK cases, which were instead found compatible with the EU Treaty. Finally, it presents in detail the Italian case, where a peculiar mix of chronic policy mismanagement, institutional conflict and lobbying has significantly hampered new infrastructure roll-out and multiplatform competition. As a result, the country’s DTT policy has been substantially challenged by the EU Institutions, both for illegal state aid and infringement to the UE law (especially in the realm of the New Regulatory Framework). On overall, the paper argues that the implementation of the EU policy mix is dramatically complex, both conceptually and procedurally. Moreover, it requires careful fine tuning, and presents some grey areas of competence intersection, where the national interest still plays a big role. As a result, the new DTV policy framework remains intrinsically prone to member states’ particularisms and abuses, especially in the realm of state aid. A few suggestions, aimed at implementing a more rigorous economic approach to state aid control in media markets, are then presented. Finally, the Italian case stands as particularly multidimensional and complex to tackle, and requires a wider policy debate and treatment at the EU level.

Keywords
  • Digital TV,
  • EU policy,
  • multi-platform competition,
  • analogue switch-off,
  • consumer subsidy,
  • state aid control.
Disciplines
Publication Date
2008
Citation Information
Matteucci, N. (2008), "Multiplatform Competition and State Aid in EU Digital TV: A Comparative Assessment" Proceedings the 2008 EUCPR Conference, ITPS-JRC, Seville, ISBN 978-87-90288-38-9.