Feeds

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

Netflix, LOVEFiLM and unbundling give 'crats a reality check

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?