On 26 August 2016, the ACCC released draft Media Merger Guidelines. It invites public comment on these draft guidelines.
The draft guidelines highlight particular issues likely to be relevant to the ACCC’s assessment of a media merger under section 50 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act). They also include a number of case studies to illustrate the ACCC’s approach in past media mergers.
The draft guidelines are an update to those originally released in August 2006. This update is timely for two reasons. First, there have been significant changes to the way media is delivered and consumed in the past ten years and these changes are altering the nature of competition in media markets. Second, the government has proposed changes to Australia’s media control and ownership rules. These changes, if passed, could create the potential for new mergers in the Australian media sector that may require review by the ACCC.
The draft guidelines identify some of the key issues the ACCC may focus on when assessing mergers in the media sector. These will vary from merger to merger, but might include issues such as diversity of media voices, the impact of technological change, and access to content.
Submissions for this consultation close on Friday, 14 October 2016.