Sky ices Picnic, blames Ofcom
TV and broadband offer eaten by watchdog
Sky today said it had put its planned terrestrial pay TV product "Picnic" on ice, blaming Ofcom's glacial decision-making.
The regulator has been examining the proposals for 18 months now, and "there is no end in sight", a Sky spokesman said, "no business can go on like that".
The firm still hopes to bring Picnic to market, but has stopped further development as "the team have done everything they possibly can to prepare for launch," the spokesman added. The move means parallel Sky broadband and telephone offers for consumers who don't want pay TV or can't get satellite will also gather dust.
Under the proposals, Sky would replace its three free-to-air Freeview channels (Sky News, Sky Sports News and Sky 3) with premium Sky Movies and Sky Sports content, and Sky One. If Ofcom were to approve the broadcaster's desired switch to MPEG4 encoding, a fourth channel could be squeezed into the spectrum, granting a reprieve for Sky News.
The TV, broadband and phone packages would be offered in any combination.
Sky first pitched the idea to regulators in February 2007. Rivals Top-up TV and Setanta submitted objections and nothing has been heard of since March, when Ofcom told analysts it it would publish a response in Spring. The document never surfaced.
An Ofcom spokeswoman today said the appropriate people to comment on Sky's cage-rattling were in a meeting all morning. Prior to the publication of this story a second Ofcom press officer rang El Reg demanding to know why we hadn't called to ask the regulator's response. ®
DirecTV == News Corp == BSkyB
DirecTV and BSkyB are both owned by News Corp (As is SkyItalia and Foxtel as well as a few others round the world), BSkyB does NOT participate in the North American market.
DirecTV was accused of leaking information on DishNetworks security keys to PayTV hackers (Dish would prob have done the same if Videoguard was crackable...it isn't, which is why DishNetwork gets hacked the most...they use Nagravision (heading to V3 which I've heard is either cracked or close to being cracked)
Videoguard has lasted as long as it has due to good security based on military style algorithms for cipher strength (NDS who wrote it and maintain it have done work for the Israeli Defence Forces and are based in Israel, also they are rumoured to be good friends with mossad (and to be honest would you make it know you had cracked Videoguard if you thought Mossad would come after you?....I wouldnt :-| )
Also Videoguard is customised for each provider (ie BskyB, Foxtel etc) meaning if one provider falls the others are secure still, plus I get the sense NDS have several versions already prepared in case of a major break in the coding (remember the big BSkyB card swap to the Dark blue viewing cards a few years back? rumours are that someone was very close to breaking that implementation of Videoguard so BSkyB swapped out all the cards and did an over the air box update to change the encryption and strengthen it.
(I keep an eye on what is going on as I find cryptographic cracking interesting....and plus watching the virtual games of cat and mouse is quite amusing as well as reading about someone getting too cocky and getting nicked - i.e. selling sat boxes pre-programmed with encrytion cracks (Heck a lot of local newspapers carry ads for Free To Air Satellite Boxes (especially in Canada) a euphemism for a box that is either re-programmed before sale or can be, by either the store or the customer themselves, cops aint stupid but selling Free To Air boxes is legal, reprogramming them isnt)
Anon....as I really dont want a visit from Mossad, and I really like being able to walk / breathe
BskyB hack competitor bankruptcy
It’s a good job for BskyB that OFCOM are just toothless bureaucrats because instead of having to listen to their whining over this they would just take their license away due to their involvement in hacking their competitors, Dish Network and DirectTV in the US and if I remember correctly Ondigital and Virgin/NTL in the UK and a couple of EU TV providers.
Sky's the limit
Sky would have known that Picnic was always going to be contentious because Sky already dominates satellite pay-TV in the UK so any growth into terrestrial pay-TV was always going to trigger a lengthy monopoly investigation. So it's probably safe to assume that Sky was never going to launch Picnic in the first place; it just wanted to scare the living daylights out of Setanta and put fear and doubt into its competitors just like it did with Virgin Media and ONdigital.
Paris, because even she probably realises that Sky are money-grabbing monopolists and Ofcom are a complete waste of space.