The pending merger of Spain's digital pay-TV platforms, Via Digital and Canal Satellite Digital is likely to meet stiff resistance from numerous sectors within the country.
The nation's Court for the Defence of Competition is understood to be collecting multiple complaints concerning the merger from Spanish companies and associations prior to the government's final approval, expected before year end.
Spain's Association of Cable Operators (AOC) is believed to be one of the driving forces behind mounting resistance to the merger. Both Luis Alberto Salazar Simpson, president of telecoms provider Auna, and Eugenio Galdon, head of cable company Ono, have spoken out against the merger and its potentially negative effects on competitive access to contents, particularly Hollywood feature films and key football matches.
Their concerns echo a report released in August by Spain's Telecommunications Market Commission (CMT), which pointed to a "monopoly" on rights to feature films, thematic channels, football rights and access to telecommunications networks and services as among the potential effects of a merger.
Telefonica-backed Via Digital and CSD, backed by the Vivendi/Grupo Prisa-owned Sogecable, accorded their merger last May. The European Commission handed authorisation over to the Spanish government in August. According to the platforms, the merger would create a single operator with 2.5 million existing subscribers.