Telefonica del Peru removed from its cable TV lineup the free-to-air channel RBC and replaced it for its music channel Movistar Música. The Peruvian broadcaster expressed its disagreement with the decision and in a statement sent to the Superintendency of the Securities Market (SMV) denounced “abuse of the dominance position of Telefónica”, as reported digital newspaper Gestión.
RBC considered that this decision “violates free competition and implicit private property” and said that “this action could be seen as a claim to control freedom of expression in Peru by a foreign entity and to replace the Peruvian State in the licensing of television channels, in which case, any FTA channel could be exposed to the same fate “. RBC was located on frequency 11, the same it has on FTA TV.
In turn, Telefonica said that RBC knew about the intention to remove the channel from February 22 and that the decision was made based on consumer preference studies. The company said they even negotiation about a possible move to another frequency on the lineup.
The Spanish telecommunications company added: “There is no other FTA channel with such low levels of audience or no preference”. Moreover, it said that “no cable TV operator has the obligation to broadcast on its lineup the FTA channels”.
RBC operates only in the capital Lima. Recently, local media reported that the channel is on sale and mentioned Telefónica among interested companies in buying it, something that was later denied by the Spanish telco.