Feeds

Sky faces competition probe over film rights

Ofcom calls in Competition Commission

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.