Feeds

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

Netflix, LOVEFiLM and unbundling give 'crats a reality check

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
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
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
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.