In 2016, the Competition Commission (COMCO) imposed a penalty of CHF 71.8 million on Swisscom and Cinetrade for alleged unlawful conduct in the marketing of sports content on pay TV between 2006 and 2013. COMCO’s allegation was that the market dominance of the companies, in particular in the provision of national football and ice hockey broadcasts, resulted in their obligation, as far as technically possible, to offer all TV platforms in Switzerland an equivalent Teleclub sports offering on non-discriminatory terms.
TV customers today have long been receiving the entire sports content from Swisscom/Blue and Sunrise UPC. Smaller players in the TV market also benefit from this and receive the sports content of the two providers. This benefits all customers of the various providers with an interest in sports.
Swisscom and the Cinetrade Group continued to behave lawfully in the marketing of sports content on pay TV between 2006 and 2013. As in other countries, the broadcasting rights for sports content are periodically granted in an open tender procedure in which other interested parties, such as cable network companies, can also participate. The significant investments made by Swisscom and Cinetrade between 2006 and 2013 in order to be able to offer sports broadcasting that had previously been neglected in Switzerland as attractive pay TV content justified a minimally expanded sports offering for transmission over the Swisscom TV platform. This was the only way to sufficiently protect the investments at that time.
It was only thanks to Swisscom’s entry into the TV business in 2006 that consumers were given any alternative in the Swiss television market environment, which is monopolised by cable network operators. This gave rise to intense competition, in the course of which Swisscom and Cinetrade/Teleclub successively amassed a comprehensive range of live broadcasts of the Swiss football and ice hockey leagues. Thanks to the commitment of Swisscom and Cinetrade, viewers with an interest in sports now benefit from a much wider range of live broadcasts on both free AND pay TV, both on the Swisscom TV platform and on the networks of cable network operators.
Swisscom will now analyse the impact of the Federal Administrative Court's decision in greater depth and is considering a possible appeal to the Federal Supreme Court. The fine will impact the operating result (EBITDA) of the second quarter in an amount of CHF 71.8 million. The guidance for the financial year 2022 remains unchanged.