StopPress believes the free-to-air RWC broadcasting orgy between Maori Television Service, TVNZ and TV3 is likely to be investigated by the Commerce Commission on the grounds of anti-competitive behaviour.
Officially, The Comcom says it's a no comment. They have absolutely no position on the matter *Tui billboard*. But word on the street is that if the offer is approved by the IRB, the commission will investigate the deal.
Michael Carney, of the Media Counsel, says any grand coalition involving multiple partners is likely to come under regulatory scrutiny and, in this case, he believes the deal is anti-competitive. It's just government mandated anti-competitive behaviour.
"Government mandated or not, it's still anti-competitive behaviour," he says.
While the amount of the combined free-to-air bid hasn't been disclosed, it's widely believed to be lower than the original MTS and TVNZ offers. So, if anyone's going to complain about cartel collusion, it'll be the IRB.
He wouldn't be surprised to see some regulatory action in the near future, whether the IRB complain directly to the Commerce Commission or the commission decides to investigate of its own volition.
Anti-competitive behaviour debates aside, Carney also wonders if the deal is in the best interests of the country, given the likelihood of games screening on an array of different networks.
Both anti-competitive and counter-intuitive, it seems.