Sky delays YouView judgement, referral likely

Apparently Ofcom members were already gathered to discuss whether or not it will trigger a competition investigation on YouView, when Sky got in touch to say it was submitting a complaint to join those already received from Virgin Media, IP Vision, Six TV, United For Local Television and the Open Source Consortium.

Ofcom and YouView had assumed Sky’s close association with the Virgin complaint meant there wouldn’t be a separate one, but now an announcement has been delayed so they can weigh Sky’s complaint also. YouView CEO Richard Halton issued a press release making clear his feelings: “While we welcome justifiable scrutiny, the timing of this submission is clearly designed to extend the regulatory process in pursuit of commercial self interest rather than the public interest.

“We remain committed to creating a viable, subscription free alternative to meet consumer needs and stimulate the market. YouView will create competition among TV platforms and increase the range and number of opportunities for content providers and device manufacturers. We encourage Ofcom to take this wider view as they continue their consideration.”

However, the mood music from Ofcom suggests the regulator judges that, no matter whether it considers the complaints valid, the number of them and the involvement of public money through the BBC means the complaints cannot be ignored. The fact News Corp’s bid for Sky is coming under fire from players including several in the YouView camp, and that Ofcom recently regulated Sky’s wholesale prices, would also leave an open goal for ‘anything but Sky’ accusations against the regulator.

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