Feeds

Watchdogs probe Sky dominance on pay-TV

Should we be able to watch the football how we want?

The essential guide to IT transformation

Ofcom has launched an investigation today into whether consumers are being harmed by Sky's movie and sport rights-buying supremacy.

There are "warning signs" that people's choice is being limited by the way the market operates, the communications watchdog said, though it has "not yet reached a view on the existence of competition problems".

The probe has been triggered by the proliferation of new pay-TV platforms from ISPs, and the public spat over broadcast rights charges earlier this year between Sky and Virgin Media.

Virgin Media led BT, Setanta and Top-up TV in a complaint to regulators in March. They alleged that Sky's behaviour when it buys broadcast rights is stifling the market and consumer choice.

The Murdoch-owned satellite broadcaster controls 80 per cent of the UK pay-TV sector, and is aiming for more via a new terrestrial platform, which is under a separate Ofcom investigation.

Chief among Ofcom's worries is that because Sky owns both the rights, and the broadcasting platform for Premiership football, for example, it is in its interest to prevent live matches appearing on other outlets such as BT Vision.

Sky responded to the complaint by telling Ofcom that its rivals are "entirely divorced from the reality of the current conditions of competition".

The practice of forcing consumers to pay for a "basics" package before they can access more expensive channels will also come under scrutiny by the investigation, which will report in Spring with a further consultation in spring 2008.

It's possible that Sky will be forced to offer its sports channels on a price-controlled wholesale basis to other broadcasters.

You can respond to the consultation here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?