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Does Hulu constitute a cartel?

By PETER WHITE

Published: 2 December, 2011

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The European Union is surely meant to have a single set of legal interpretations for thinks like anti-trust, and so if one Union member, such as France or the UK says something's not in breach of those laws, then it should be the same in Germany. Right? Well no.

Germany has something called the Bundeskartellamt, which has that all too important world Kartel, in it, Cartel to you and me. Europe and the US really does allow Cartels although they are frowned upon, but in Germany they are actually illegal.

Which is why broadcasters like ARD and ZDF are not being allowed to launch a joint online VoD platform like Hulu or like Project Kangaroo as it was in the UK, and why RTL and ProSiebenSat.1have also been denied permission to do the same thing.

ARD and ZDF are public service broadcasters in Germany and have about 39% of the free to air broadcast viewing hours across all Germany, while stations owned by RTL, itself controlled by the influential Bertelsmann Group, and by ProSiebenSat.1, control approximately 43% of viewing figures. Between the four groups they have in excess of 80% of all free to air viewing in Germany.

You wouldn't let a group that powerful annex all online video or take a disproportionate control of TV advertising would you? Well what is Hulu if that's not exactly what it is?

Was it a famous gaff or a clever piece of euphemism when President Bush of the US said, "The trouble with the French is that they can't spell the world Entrepreneur." A clever European may have retorted that "the trouble with the USA is that it cannot spell the word Kartel," despite the fact that the US virtually invented anti-trust law.

For a full version of our analysis of this story please go to www.rethinkresearch.biz/faultine and order this week's copy of Faultine and perhaps sign up for a trial.

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