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IP/01/727

Brussels, 22 May 2001

Commission clears Austrian internet joint venture Adworx

The European Commission has cleared a joint venture called Adworx between Austrian companies ORF, the national public broadcaster, and Netway, which belongs to Swisscom group and operates as an Internet Service Provider. Adworx will provide technical and related administrative services for internet advertising such as banner ads.

Adworx has so far been operated as a business unit of Netway Communications AG. While Adworx will be active in the provision of technical services and administrative services such as user reporting it will not be active in the marketing of internet advertising itself.

So far the ORF has outsourced these technical and marketing services for its Internet websites ORF ON to a third company. In the future the technical service will be performed by the new joint venture and the marketing of the ORF's websites will be performed by ORF's marketing subsidiary ORF Enterprise. The extent to which the ORF will be allowed to be active in the marketing of third party portals and websites will, among others, depend on the new Austrian broadcasting legislation which is currently under revision.

It is important to note that Netway is not jointly controlled by Medicur Holding GmbH, belonging to Raiffeisen Group Niederösterreich Wien, a company which holds substantial media interests in Austria, including competing media websites.

The Commission has considered that ORF ON has a strong position on the Austrian market for internet advertising but that the proposed concentration does not lead to the creation or stengthening of a dominant position on this market, nor on any other markets or market segments considered because there will remain sufficient competition in the Austrian Internet media sector.


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