BSKyB has won its long-running battle with BT after Ofcom ruled it was right to refuse to broadcast BT Sport ads on its own sports channels. Ofcom says Sky has the right to protect its brand and was not unduly discriminating against its rival.
BT’s complaint was lodged in April after Sky Media refused to broadcast a TV ad campaign media agency Maxus was attempting to book on Sky Sports for its client BT Sport. Ofcom says there is “wide availability” on other commercial channels for BT to target sports fans and that in prohibiting BT Sport ads on its channels Sky was “pursuing a legitimate commercial interest”.
Graham McWilliam, BSkyB’s Group Director of Corporate Affairs said: “We are pleased that Ofcom has confirmed that we are acting entirely reasonably in declining to advertise a direct competitor on Sky Sports. As we said at the time, BT’s demands are a bit like Tesco expecting to advertise inside Sainsbury’s.”
Earlier this week, BT complained to Ofcom over Sky’s refusal to wholesale Sky Sports 1 and 2 to YouView.
BT commented: “With regulation you win some and you lose some. Whilst this decision has gone against us, we are delighted that Ofcom is going to investigate Sky over their refusal to supply us with Sky Sports on YouView. That is a far bigger issue for us than their refusal to show our ads so this has been a good week for BT in terms of regulation.”