Film studios and Sky offer to end anti-competitive movie deals

The logo of Warner Bros entertainment company is seen during the MIPTV, the International Television Programs Market, in Cannes, France, April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros and Sky have offered to end anti-competitive movie licensing deals in a bid to stop an antitrust investigation, regulators said on Thursday, after Paramount and Disney made similar concessions.

The European Commission in 2015 said the contracts between Hollywood studios and Sky prevented consumers outside Britain and Ireland from accessing films and other content broadcast by the British pay-TV group.

The EU wanted to end restrictions hindering cross-border trade and boost e-commerce and growth in the 28-country bloc.

The three studios have offered to allow viewers outside Britain and Ireland access to films and other content broadcast by Sky UK. They will also let other broadcasters outside the UK make their pay-TV services available in the UK and Ireland following requests from viewers.

Third parties have a month to provide feedback before the Commission decides whether to take up the offer. If accepted, it would be valid for five years, covering both standard pay-TV services, subscription video-on-demand services, satellite broadcast services and online services.

The proposal is similar to the one from Paramount two years ago which was later accepted by the Commission after feedback from rivals and customers.

Disney DIS.N last month also proposed to end such restrictions. The EU competition enforcer is now waiting for comments from third parties.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle