Virgin Media says Ofcom has been too lenient with BskyB and has lodged an appeal against the broadcasting regulator's efforts to set fair prices for the market in Premier League football coverage.
In its case to the Competition Appeals Tribunal, the cabler challenges Ofcom's wholesale pricing regime set for BSkyB's Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels. It thinks the price should be lower and Virgin wants Ofcom to include Sky Sports 3 and 4 in the regulated pricing and it wants limits on bundle prices that include the sports channels in combination with film channels.
Ofcom set the price for a bundle of Sky Sports 1 and 2 at £10.63 per customer (E12.88), 23.4 per cent below what BSkyB charges Virgin Media, currently its only wholesale client. The price for a bundle of both channels was set at £17.14, which is 10.5 per cent less than now.
Ofcom said in its judgement it would closely watch for any switching of valuable programming away from the main sports channels 1 and 2 and if this occurred it would consider regulating 3 and 4 also.
BskyB objects to any and all wholesale price regulation and is appealing the whole decision.