The merger between Talpa and RTL requires in-depth research into the consequences of the merger for the commercial television market. That has the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) announced on Friday. The effects on the market for advertisers must be further mapped out. There are also concerns about the power that the merged company would have over providers of (digital) television and production companies. The market for TV productions could suffer from reduced investment in external producers, meaning that in the long run a shrinking supply of TV programs is ‘to the detriment of the consumer’.
Also read: If RTL and Talpa merge, almost all commercial TV channels will be in the hands of one company
Talpa and RTL, competitors in the commercial TV market, announced last year that they would join forces in order to better compete with American video services such as Netflix and Disney in particular. Sven Sauvé, CEO of RTL Nederland, recently said in NRC that the merger “has nothing to do with TV”. With this step, ACM seems to weigh heavily on the market position in the Dutch TV world. The merged company would surpass the NPO in terms of market share.
RTL and Talpa must now apply for a permit, after which ACM will continue with its investigation. The market regulator will, among other things, conduct an ‘in-depth data analysis of the price effects of the merger on the advertising market’. The parties may have to divest parts, although nothing is clear about this at the moment. RTL also includes the sales company BrandDeli, which sells advertising space for smaller commercial TV channels in the Netherlands such as Discovery and Viacom, and the large production company BlueCircle.
ACM’s move is independent of the recent publicity surrounding the success of the programme The Voice of Holland, where there would have been sexually transgressive behavior by the artists involved Ali B, Marco Borsato, band leader Jeroen Rietbergen and a director. RTL canceled the program during the investigation into the abuses. Talpa owner John de Mol is embarrassed by the matter, since he was still producer of The Voice until 2020. His TV company Talpa (which includes channels SBS 6, Net 5, Veronica) is separate from the discredited program.