Battle for 3 rights continues

At the beginning of the month, TV3, the television channel owned by Swedish media giant MTG, lost its fight to prevent mobile operator 3 using the number 3 in its branding. But MTG And TV3 have now asked the Court of Appeal to overturn the decision.

In the initial case, TV3 argued that the mobile operator’s use of the number 3 created a confusion, since both companies offer media services. As well as attempting to stop 3 using the number 3, TV3 demanded a fine of 300 million kronor and compensation of 100 million kronor.

But the court ruled that TV3 could not protect the number 3, irrespective of the format.

In response, 3’s managing director said he suspected that TV3’s owner, MTG – which is part of the Stenbeck family’s corporate empire – had ulterior motives.

“The ones who really wanted this process were not TV3 but another Stenbeck company, Comviq,” said Shlomo Liran, referring to another Swedish mobile operator.

“They didn’t like new competition and this was their way to try and stop us.”

Liran told Svenska Dagbladet that he was not surprised by the outcome. Tuesday’s announcement of an appeal is unlikely to have suprised him either.

MTG/TV3 are demanding from the appeal court precisely what they were denied by the district court. Thanks to the holiday, the companies have until August 15th to finalise the appeal and they are yet to produce new evidence.

But the mobile operator is unperturbed.

“We still think we have a strong argument for our right to use the number 3,” said Erik H√∂rnfeldt, press officer at the mobile operator.

“In our view MTG and TV3 have a small chance of winning. And that’s why we can’t rule out that there are other motives behind this,” he added.

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet


Swedish broadcaster MTG quits Slovenia

Swedish broadcaster Modern Times Group, MTG, said Wednesday it will cancel its Slovenian television channel TV3 and quit the EU country citing the unfavourable media environment there.

“We’ve been forced to such a radical step by the situation in Slovenia’s media market determined by monopolies and a lack of competitiveness,” TV3’s head Gregor Memedovic said in a statement.

MTG entered Slovenia’s media market in 2006 and created TV3, which currently employs 39 people and has 11 percent of the country’s viewers.

“Despite that, TV3 could not win a proportional share (to the number of viewers) in the advertising market and has been registering large losses,” Memedovic said, adding there were no prospects of the situation improving over the next years.

In 2010, TV3 and state television RTV filed a complaint before the Competition Protection Authority against media house Pro Plus for allegedly forcing advertisers to sign exclusive contracts with its commercial television channels POP TV and Kanal A.

The competition authority opened an investigation in 2011 but has yet to make a ruling.

According to Pro Plus figures, POP TV and Kanal A together have a 60-70 percent market share in Slovenia.