In a precedence setting order, the Competition Commission of India has ordered music label T-Series to stop imposing minimum guarantees in its agreements with private FM Radio Stations in India, calling "minimum commitment charges" (MCC) unfair and discriminatory. The commission has fined T-Series a mere Rs 2.83 crores as penalty, but more importantly, it has directed the music label to modify "the unfair condition of MCC imposed on private FM stations in India in its existing agreements within 3 months of the date of receipt of this order." An investigation by the CCI DG revealed that MCCs (or MGs) were "distorting the competition in the relevant market. On one hand it increases the cost of music for FM radio stations as they are forced to pay extra money even if they are not playing songs of the opposite party (T-Series), on the other hand it also forces FM stations to play at least the minimum guaranteed needle hour even though there is no demand of such songs from the listeners." What the CCI said about Minimum Guarantees - Uncertainty not a justification: The Commission notes that T-Series cannot justify MGs on the grounds that MGs reduce the uncertainty that content owners face, particularly since it is the only player in the market that is charging MGs (in Radio). - Exploitative and exclusionary: The Commission notes that an MG, "irrespective of whether it is 30% or 50%, is exploitative and exclusionary in nature. It is exploitative as it forces the customers to pay for…
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