Feeds

Competition officials snap on fresh glove after 4-year Sky Movies probe

Netflix, LOVEFiLM and unbundling give 'crats a reality check

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The UK Competition Commission's four-year probe into Sky Movies has shifted gear, with the agency acknowledging that the market has changed significantly since it produced its interim judgment last summer.

Back then, the Commission decreed that Sky's "first-window" deals (technically referred to as the FSPTW or 'First subscription Pay TV window') with six major Hollywood studios were anti-competitive. A model was used to reckon that movie prices paid by Sky customers were £50m to £60m higher than they would otherwise be. Although Sky also offered the content to other broadcasters such as Virgin, the Commission decreed the price paid was too high and that there was no "effective" competition.

But since then, much has changed. Sky will make its movies available to anyone over any internet connection, rather than insisting punters sign up to Anytime+ using a Sky broadband connection. Sky has also set up a Movies Store and has expanded the catalogue available.

That's a response to two new OTT providers, Amazon-owned LOVEFiLM and Netflix, which have entered the UK market – and their presence is hard to escape. Although neither has snared a top-six studio for the first-run window in the UK, they have in Germany. The duelling OTT twosome have grabbed rights to new FSPTW movies, and acquired second and third window rights too.

So, with a bit of coughing and a shuffling of feet, the Commission notes that "... the volume and quality (in terms of UK box office success and recency) of content offered by LOVEFiLM and Netflix is much greater than that offered by the movie subscription services available on pay TV from market participants other than Sky at the time of our provisional findings."

In its submission, Hollywood studio Universal pointed out something interesting that the Commission had missed. Pay TV services offer a range of stuff, and the first-run movies are becoming a diminishing part of the mix. Sky itself is spending much more on its own original programming, as it attempts to lure lucrative highbrow viewers from the BBC through Sky Arts. As more broadcasters invest more in their content – HBO being the classic example – the Hollywood-Sky relationship is less crucial.

The Commission says it will now deliver a final report in July. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.