Ofcom may force Sky to sell some of its channels
Tue 23rd Mar 2010 | Television & Broadcasting
Ofcom, the television watchdog are expected to announce its plans to force Sky, the satellite broadcaster to sell its premium sports and film channels at ‘wholesale’ prices.
Industry sources expect the satellite broadcaster to receive a ‘wholesale must-offer’ obligation that would force Sky to make its premium content available to all interested parties, including Virgin Media and BT Vision.
If passed, the cost of watching live football, rugby, boxing and cricket on TV is set to fall in the UK, as it would bring an end to Sky’s dominant position, built since 1989 under Rupert Murdoch.
At present, most operators are unable to agree terms with Sky over its premium content, and those that have, most notably Virgin Media, have complained that they are charged rates which make it impossible for them to compete effectively.
The media regulator confirmed it does intend to publish the findings of its pay-TV investigation in March, but refused to be drawn on any speculation.
Any decision has come too late for Setanta, whose British business collapsed last June following a six-month struggle to raise cash.
The TV operator, which counted Premier League football matches among its offering, was among the original broadcasters to request Ofcom to lead an investigation into the pay-TV industry back in July 2007, alongside BT, Top TV Europe and Virgin Media.
But Ofcom’s ruling is still eagerly awaited by broadcasters operating in the satellite and cable sector.
Other interested parties in this month’s decision include sports and film rights holders whose businesses rely in significant part on fees received for their rights from pay-TV operators.
However, any ruling this month could still fail to provide any immediate action. Alex Haffner, senior associate at competition law firm Denton Wilde Sapte, warns a resolution could still be some two years away.
He said: "The next stage in the battle will inevitably be legal appeals with Sky seeking first to have the Ofcom decision suspended pending a full appeal on the merits of the decision."
Haffner, who has previously acted for rights holders FA Premier League and ECB, in addition to broadcasters ITV Digital and BBC, warned a typical Competition Appeal Tribunal takes between 1-2 years to complete.
He added: "Passions are running high on both sides of the fence. The way Ofcom writes this month’s decision will be key to whether it can effectively neutralise the current arguments."
Mon 3rd Apr 2017 | Television & Broadcasting
The Premier League launches national ad campaign targeting mums, teachers, and young fans. The Premier League has chosen to showcase their community programme Premier League Primary Stars in their...
Thu 12th Jan 2017 | Television & Broadcasting
Fans will be given a different perspective of Manchester United’s clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford this weekend thanks to Spidercam. Sky Sports will create a Premier League first this...
Mon 9th Jan 2017 | Television & Broadcasting
Long-term features writer and well-known voice on BBC’s Final Score football results programme is set to inspire sports journalists of the future after making a January move to the University of...
Tue 3rd Jan 2017 | Television & Broadcasting
The 2016-17 Premier League season has marked an enormous breakthrough for English football as Sky Sports and BT Sport have paid a record £5.136billion for the rights to broadcast the matches....