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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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.
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.
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?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.