Competition Commission of India (CCI): Media giant Bennett Coleman’s daily the Times of India/Mumbai Times does not, for the purpose of section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002, enjoy dominant position in cosmopolitan city of Mumbai in the relevant market for services of procurement of advertisement space in English print media. With this observation, the antitrust watchdog CCI closed a case, prima facie, against Bennett Coleman for alleged abuse of dominant position in its advertisement business.
The informant had alleged that the Times of India (TOI) by imposing unfair and discriminatory conditions, by categorizing informant’s advertisement in “display category” instead of “entertainment category” and thus charging higher and different rate without there being any real or apparent difference between cinema advertisements and entertainment advertisements abused its dominant position. It was alleged that TOI is in a position to charge higher rates for advertisements in an arbitrary and restrictive manner and may stifle the film industry.
The Commission was of the view that TOI may be enjoying a wide readership in the relevant market but there are several other reputed newspapers, which are also enjoying a large readership in the relevant market and posing competition constraints to TOI. The presence of large number of other English newspapers in Mumbai provides more choice to the Informant as well as inhibits TOI from exercising any kind of monopolistic power independent of market forces, thus TOI is not dominant in the relevant market. [Cloudwalker Streaming Technologies v. Bennett, Coleman and Co.,  CCI 148 decided on 29.09.2015]