MultiChoice Magyarország (hereinafter: MultiChoice), owned by the Dutch Nethold Central Europe dealt with distribution of subscription for coded satellite channels, advertising and management activities as well as distribution of equipment (satellite dishes, aerials, decoders) to serve reception of satellite programs. MultiChoice distributed the subscriptions together with equipment through a wholesaler, called Bétacom, to almost 80 distributors.

As a result of advertising campaign MultiChoice obtained subscribers in a great number (13 000-15 000 persons) to whom it sold also equipment. However, the number of receivers sold were much higher, about 30 000-40 000 within two months after the advertising campaign MultiChoice terminated its contracts, concluded with the subscribers, explaining that one of the channels did not assure the right to distribute FilmNet to Nethold anymore. In the contract, concluded between MultiChoice and the subscribers, MultiChoice provided unilaterally favourable conditions for itself in the case of termination. Although MultiChoice repaid some money to customers from the price of some equipment, subscribers could not use the equipment for reception of other channels, therefore the termination of the contract caused a considerable harm to them.

The Competition Council of the Office of Economic Competition pointed out the dominant position of MultiChoice and in its decision referred to the relevant part of the Competition Act [Art. (22)(1)] In which a dominant position shall be deemed to be held on the relevant market by undertakings for whose market goods the reasonable substitutes cannot be purchased elsewhere, or can only be purchased under considerably less favourable conditions than usual.

The Competition Council qualified the market conduct of MultiChoice as abusive, therefore anti-competitive, when it forced disadvantageous stipulations to its customers concerning the termination of the contracts. An amount of HUF 12 million (about 53 000 ECU) fine was imposed on MultiChoice and the Competition Council ordered the immediate implementation of the decision. The reason of the order of the immediate implementation was that MultiChoice had already left the market and will leave Hungary soon.

January 12, 1997. Budapest

dr. Lénárd Réka sk. előadó
dr. Bodócsi András sk.
dr. Györffy István sk.
Ágoston Marika