Business Directory

Browse the Directory

Sign Up to the Directory

FC Business Twitter
FC business Linked in
FC Business facebook
FC Business Youtube

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."

Add to: Google Google | Yahoo Yahoo | Live Live | del.icio.us del.icio | Digg Digg |

Related Articles

Sky Sports wins live EFL rights, will stream midweek games after new 600m TV deal

Tue 12th Sep 2017 | Television & Broadcasting

Sky Sports has strengthened its position as the home of football with a new deal to show live coverage of the EFL until 2024, offering Sky customers more matches and more ways to watch than ever...

Sky Search For 'Next Jamie Vardy'

Tue 22nd Aug 2017 | Television & Broadcasting

A documentary based on the search for the next Jamie Vardy will be shown on Sky from September. The Leicester City and England star's story is well-known, rising from non-league football with...

Premier League awarded anti-piracy Blocking Order

Thu 27th Jul 2017 | Television & Broadcasting

As part of its biggest ever crackdown on the illegal streaming of its content, the Premier League has obtained a High Court Order that will require UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block...

MUTV Launched Online In UK and Ireland

Tue 11th Jul 2017 | Television & Broadcasting

Manchester United’s official television network, MUTV, is now available to all supporters in the UK and Ireland, via a new streaming service. The newly launched service at mutv.com will be...