Advanced Television

Ofcom to continue to monitor Sky pay-TV power

October 29, 2012

By Colin Mann

Responding to the full judgement from the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal on its pay-TV decision, comms regulator Ofcom has confirmed that it will continue to monitor developments in the pay-TV sector, in particular relating to BSkyB’s activities as a wholesaler of premium content.

Ofcom claims that in the two and a half years since its pay-TV decision, consumers have benefited from greater choice and innovation through wider availability of premium content. “We are pleased with this outcome, which has offered real benefits for consumers,”it said.

“Consumers can access Sky Sports 1 and 2 through BT Vision’s platform and through Top Up TV as a direct result of our must-offer obligation on Sky. Virgin Media’s cable TV customers can also subscribe to high-definition versions of these channels. We welcome also Sky’s agreement to make its premium sports channels available through TalkTalk’s new TV service, which we see as a further positive development,” said the watchdog.

“Ofcom is pleased that the Tribunal has agreed with us that we have the power to impose a wholesale must-offer remedy. While the Tribunal and Ofcom have reached different conclusions as to Sky’s historic behaviour, what matters now is Sky’s future behaviour. If Sky does now act as a willing wholesaler, then this should have a positive impact on competition and offer benefits for consumers,” it stated.

“Ofcom has an ongoing duty to ensure fair and effective competition in this sector. We note that, in contrast to the Tribunal, the Competition Commission has reached the conclusion that competition in pay-TV is ineffective. Ofcom will continue to monitor developments to establish whether further action may be required to promote competition for consumers,” it confirmed.


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