Advanced Television

Minister asks BSkyB to cut BBC carriage fees

January 23, 2013

By Chris Forrester

The UK’s Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, said that BSkyB should stop charging the UK’s public broadcasters for access to Sky’s viewers.

BSkyB charges the BBC, commercial broadcaster ITV, and Channel’s 4 and Five, a ‘technical fee’ for access to its set-top boxes, and use of Red Button interactive technology.  The contracts are said to be worth about £7 million a year to BSkyB.  The agreement has been in place since 1998 when Sky launched its digital TV services.

The UK’s public broadcasters do not pay any sort of carriage or access fee to Virgin Media under cable’s ‘must carry’ rules of public channels.

Vaisey is arguing that if the industry cannot find a way to stop imposing this cost on licence fee payers and public service broadcasters, [then] “we will look at our options for intervention,” his speech is expected to say.

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