Feeds

Sky faces competition probe over film rights

Ofcom calls in Competition Commission

The essential guide to IT transformation

The Competition Commission will investigate whether Sky is using a stranglehold on film rights to harm its competitors in the pay-TV market.

The communications regulator Ofcom today formally asked for the probe, expressing concerns that because of the way film rights are sold, Sky has "the incentive and ability to distort competition".

"First-run Hollywood movies are particularly important to competition in the pay-TV sector," said Ofcom.

"This is because they are highly attractive to a large number of consumers, who want subscription access to premium high quality movies as close to their box office release as possible. This content is a key factor for many consumers when signing up to a pay-TV service."

The launch of a Competition Commission investigation represents just the latest stage in a battle between Ofcom and Sky stretching back to March 2007. Earlier this year regulators ordered the satellite broadcaster to offer its sports channels to competitors at restricted prices.

Ofcom said its decision to call for a full investigation of film rights was in part motivated by Sky's plans for subscription video-on-demand services.

"The importance of linear movie channels appears to be gradually declining over time," it said.

"In the longer term we are concerned that as Sky develops its SVoD services, its current market power in relation to linear channels could be transferred across to these new services. Therefore, it is unlikely that, absent intervention, competition will develop and consumers will benefit in terms of choice and innovation."

Virgin Media, Sky's main pay-TV rival, had pressed Ofcom to act.

Sky sharply criticised the regulator today.

"Ofcom is yet again seeking to intervene in a sector in which consumers are being well served," it said.

"There have never been so many ways to access movies with innovation stretching across a wide variety of channels and platforms, including multiple ways to access Sky Movies. Further prolonging this unnecessary investigation will only create uncertainty and serve to undermine incentives to invest and innovate, which is bad news for consumers."

The regulator's detailed decision to refer Sky to the Competition Commission is here. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.