Britain’s antitrust watchdog has opened an investigation into potential breaches of competition law involved in the production and broadcasting of television content.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it is probing at least seven suspected companies, including the BBC and ITV, on their purchase of freelance services and the employment of staff who produce UK television content.
It excludes sport content, which is under a similar but separate investigation of its own, opened in July 2022.
The CMA said it has “reasonable grounds” to believe there is at least one competition law infringement but it is yet to send a statement of objections to any of the companies concerned.
A statement of objections details the regulator’s competition concerns and is sent to suspected parties.
City A.M. approached the BBC and ITV for comment. The latter published a notice on the stock exchange confirming that a market investigation was ongoing.
“ITV is committed to complying with competition law and to cooperating with the CMA’s inquiries,” the broadcaster said.
A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC notes the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) announcement and will fully cooperate with the CMA’s inquiries.”
The investigation is currently in its information gathering stage until March 2024.