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Global Media and Communications Watch The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry
Posted in Advertising, Broadcasting, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband

Spain’s largest pay-TV broadcaster, DTS, appeals judgment of the General Court of the CJEU backing Spanish ‘telecom tax’

Spain’s largest broadcaster is seeking to annul Spanish taxes on over-the-air television. In 2009, the Spanish government imposed a levy on revenues of telecom operators (0.9%), pay-TV companies (1.5%) and free-to-air commercial broadcasters (3%) to finance the cost of an advertising ban imposed on public broadcaster Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española (RTVE). In 2010, the EU Commission approved the tax-based funding system, alleging it didn’t violate state aid rules prohibiting subsidies that distort competition, as there was no over-compensation and no direct link between the tax and RTVE’s financing. The General Court (Third Chamber) of the CJEU, which has jurisdiction at first instance, agreed with this argument in its judgment on 11 July 2014  in Case T-533/10 DTS Distribuidora de Televisión Digital v Commission, available here. On 25 October 2014 DTS brought an appeal to the Court of Justice (Case C-449/14 P) available here. DTS’s appeal to the Court of Justice considers the judgment has misinterpreted the concept of aid and is not backed by a comprehensive review as to whether the tax can be regarded as an integral part of an aid measure. Furthermore, it points to an error of law and argues the judgment has distorted DTS’s arguments on how the levy distorts competition disproportionately.