The South African Competition Commission said on Friday that Media24 has admitted to price fixing and the fixing of trading conditions and agreed to pay about R14 million in a settlement agreement with the commission.

Media24 is one of 28 media companies that were referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution last month to face charges that stem from an investigation conducted almost seven years ago.

The companies include the SABC, Mail&Guardian, Avusa Media and The Citizen among big names in the industry.

In terms of the Media24 settlement agreement, the company has agreed to pay an administrative penalty amounting to R13.8 million.

The Commission said that Media24 also agreed to contribute R4.9 million to the Economic Development Fund over a three year period; provide 25 percent bonus advertising space for every rand of advertising space bought by qualifying small agencies, over three years and capped at R35 million.

The case relates to a November 2011 investigation which found that, through the Media Credit Co-Ordinators (MCC), various media companies agreed to offer similar discounts and payment terms to advertising agencies that place advertisements with MCC members.

The commission found that the practices restricted competition among the competing companies as they
did not independently determine the discounts and thereby fixed the price and trading terms in
contravention of the Competition Act.

To date several other media companies have concluded settlement agreements with the commission. Caxton & CTP Publishers and Printers agreed to pay administrative penalties of R5.8 million; Independent Media agreed to pay R2.2 million and DStv Media Sales to pay R22.2 million.

In addition, out-of-home advertising firm Provantage Media has also admitted to price fixing and fixing of trading conditions.

The company has agreed to pay just more than R1 million as part of its settlement agreement. The two agreements have been referred to the tribunal for confirmation.

The two agreements have been referred to the tribunal for confirmation.

Note: SABC Digital News has removed a video linked to this story, which incorrectly implicated Noseweek Magazine in this issue. We apologise for for any misconception due to our reporting.