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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
Media mergers and independence are
the country’s core focus areas this year
as the government homogenises ownership and control while streaming services expand.
In December 2018, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán issued a decree that exempts pro-government
media groups from the scrutiny of competition authorities, prompting concerns over press freedom.
A month earlier, some of Hungary’s largest pro-government media companies “donated” their news channels, radio stations and online media outlets to the newly formed media conglomerate - Central European Press and Media Foundation.
The new entity is headed by Orbán supporter and media owner Gábor Liszkay. The conglomerate states its aim as being “to promote those activities
of the print, radio, TV and online sections of the Hungarian mass media which serve to build values and strengthen Hungarian national consciousness”.
Mr Orbán has approved the media merger that he described as being of “national strategic importance in the public interest”, which critics call a threat to press freedom.
Marius Dragomir, Director of the Center for Media, Data and Society in Hungary, commented: ‘With this new conglomerate controlling most of the media in Hungary, it will be practically impossible for anyone else to compete on the market.'
In other developments, Hungary became the second country in the CEE region to launch a Paramount-branded SVOD service. Paramount+ launched in December 2018 as a standalone offer on Magyar Telekom’s Moziklub VOD platform.
Elena Balmont, SVP Interim General Manager at Viacom International commented on the launch. She said: “An important extension to our linear TV business, this new SVOD service enables us to diversify our footprint and further strengthen Viacom’s market leading position in CEE.”
Fox Networks Group made its debut on Magyar Telekom with the launch of on-demand service Fox+ in February last year.
CMS houses one of the largest TMT groups in the country. Working with its UK office, the local team assisted a Polish telecommunications operator with the launch of its satellite-based television platform. The team, managed by Dóra Petrányi, works on wider sector-related matters such as advertising tax, regulatory compliance and disputes.
Media lawyers at provide "timely and pro-active responses”. The team is also described by clients as proactive and reliable. Péter Lakatos manages the TMT group working on transactional cases connected with cable television, radio, print and online media.
Oppenheim’s industry commitment is evidenced by its media, publishing and entertainment practice group. Covering contentious and non-contentious work, the team advises on contract negotiations, licensing and disputes. Attila Terényi is among key contacts for media, with knowledge of data protection, copyright and commercial transactions.
Led by , the TMT practice at Forgó, Damjanovic & Partners has a strong track record of working with multinational media companies including radio and television networks. In highlighted work, lawyers acted for a leading Hungarian television channel in a high value lawsuit with an external programme producer. The firm also has a niche focus on gaming and extensive experience working with online and land-based gaming clients.
Intellectual property is the primary focus of Hegymegi-Barakonyi és Tarsa Baker McKenzie. The team advises a range of clients including games and software producers, television production companies and publishers. Managed by , lawyers regularly assist clients from the audio-visual sector on matters ranging from license agreements to litigation.
Lendvai and Partners is one of Hungary’s leading media specialists focussed on corporate transactions. Founding partner András Lendvai takes the lead on high profile cases including the cross-border acquisition of a Czech newspaper distributor by the Hungarian subsidiary of a global media company. The team also assisted a London-based television broadcaster on infringement of a television series title.
Lengyel Allen & Overy Ügyvédi Iroda works with audio-visual sector clients, advising on cross-border transactions. The Budapest team is backed by the firm’s global network of lawyers and works closely with neighbouring CEE regions. Key practitioner Hugh Owen represents international clients and has particular experience advising on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and takeovers.
specialises in info communications and media. The firm advises on wide-ranging issues from sector-related transactions and licensing activities to marketing and regulatory matters. Krisztina Ivanics manages the media pracftice, which works closely with the copyright and data privacy department that is led by Andrea Jádi Németh. Other areas of advice include data processing, digital software and e-commerce.
Focussing on corporate, regulatory and anti-trust matters, PRK Partners’ media and telecommunications division is notably active in all three areas of work. The firm served as counsel to a regional television broadcaster in proceedings involving an intellectual property dispute against a telecommunications operator. The team also advised Ringier Axel Springer on the acquisition of a majority stake in Azet.sk, the most visited internet portal in Slovak.
Established in 2012, boutique firm Anna Beke-Martos is focussed exclusively on media, entertainment and intellectual properly. Founding partner Anna Beke-Martos has an in-depth understanding of advertising and consumer protection laws, barriers to entry to the linear and non-linear European markets and data protection. In highlighted work, the team negotiated, structured and drafted a complex television format deal.
Balazs & Kovatsits Legal Partnership has a good track record advising on copyright matters connected with software, literary works and compositions. The team has extensive experience drafting license contracts and advising on e-commerce, data protection and competition law.
Copyright and data protection are among core focus areas at VJT & Partners. The team advises global media and entertainment companies on local data protection policy, advertising and marketing. Key practitioners János Tamás and Varga Gábor Hacsi also have extensive experience advising on the transfer and assignment of copyright.
Forgó, Damjanovic & Partners
Hegymegi-Barakonyi és Tarsa Baker McKenzie
Horváth & Partners DLA Piper
Lendvai and Partners
Lengyel Allen & Overy Ügyvédi Iroda
Knight Bird & Bird Iroda
Partos & Noblet - Associated with Hogan Lovells
Balazs & Kovatsits Legal Partnership
VJT & Partners
Réti, Antall & Partners
RANKING AND EDITORIALS