Mediaset files antitrust against Sky USB key

Italy’s Mediaset has filed a complaint with antitrust officials against Sky Italia over its Digital Key that allows Sky Italia subscribers to view free DTT channels. The pay-TV market is dominated by Sky Italia on DTH but Mediaset has been trying to challenge Sky’s position with low-cost pay-TV on DTT.

“The distribution by Sky of this key breaches (European) community and national rules on competition,” Mediaset said. The Key, or dongle, plugs into Sky STBs and allows the reception of DTT channels now denied via Sky's DTH since the move of the Mediaset channels to TivUsat.

Mediaset claims the USB key aims to slow the sale of devices that allow viewers to access pay programmes and services offered by other operators, specifically Mediaset's 'premium gallery'.

Sky Italia Chief Executive Tom Mockridge said that the key would help the digitalisation of Italy by offering a “service for consumers in a market in swift development. A development that, evidently, is not easy to accept for a group like Mediaset that for many years has been, and still is today, the main private subject operating in Italian commercial television and dominant in the advertising market.”

Sky itself is already suing Mediaset for antitrust because it won't let Sky advertise its pay services on its FTA channels.

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