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#272228 - 28th Nov 2008 9:24pm Sky To Appeal ITV Ruling
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
Originally Posted By: Digital Spy
BSkyB has applied for permission to appeal a ruling that it must reduce its 17.9% stake in ITV to below 7.5%.

In September the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) reaffirmed the previous decisions of the Competition Commission and business secretary John Hutton on the issue.

Now the company intends to take the case to the Courts of Appeal, a move requiring approval from the CAT.

BSkyB purchased 696 million shares in the terrestrial broadcaster in October 2006 at a price of 135p per share. ITV's share price currently stands at around 35p, representing a loss of around 700 million.

"I think some people who are talking about tactics and why we would want to go to further appeal are forgetting that in this case we believe we are right," a senior Sky source told the Financial Times. "We think there is no reason to believe that this stake affects competition in the UK market and we believe that the decision as it stands affects our freedom to invest."

I still fooking love this story; it's amazing how Ofcom rule that Sky buying 17.9% shares in ITV is against competition laws, after Virgin bought the claim against them, simply because Virgin were all but set to buy 100.00% shares in ITV plc, with approval from Ofcom.

It's not Sky's fault that Virgin don't have any money, and just "talk" and hope to secure investment and backing by doing so. And I believe that Sky should be re-imbursed for the estimated 250million they will lose as part of the deal, a sum that would cripple the likes of Virgin for years.

One rule for one, one rule for another it seems, Ofcom need to be knocked off their high horse and stop going after Sky all the time, how about they go after Virgin for constantly claiming to have the UK's fastest broadband, when there is clearly ADSL2+ companies well ahead of them, in terms of upstream and downstream speeds.

Or even better, forget about Sky and Virgin, and dismantle BT, and free consumers of the scum!!

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#272398 - 29th Nov 2008 10:48am Re: Sky To Appeal ITV Ruling [Re: MattLFC]
Morseman Offline
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Registered: 15th Oct 2008
Posts: 218
Loc: Wallasey
I hate Sky, Ruper Murdoch, the Sun and all that crap. Hope they go bust to be honest.
_________________________
Nostalgia ain't what it used to be!

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#272409 - 29th Nov 2008 1:13pm Re: Sky To Appeal ITV Ruling [Re: Morseman]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
Nout wrong with Sky, they provide genuniely good services (god help us all if we had been stuck with cable only, or if the government had of had their own way and a state controlled BSB was still wasting money like theres no tomorrow); only thing I hate about Murdoch is he is minted and has too much power haha, but to his credit, he is a self-made billionaire.

As for the Sun, the shit they print and the trouble they invoke, they should be outlawed imho, but it will never happen. Sun should be renamed to Scum imho.

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#272414 - 29th Nov 2008 2:11pm Re: Sky To Appeal ITV Ruling [Re: Morseman]
_jase_
Unregistered


Originally Posted By: Morseman
I hate Sky, Ruper Murdoch, the Sun and all that crap. Hope they go bust to be honest.




withthat dont like the man

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#272432 - 29th Nov 2008 4:29pm Re: Sky To Appeal ITV Ruling [Re: ]
Morseman Offline
Addict

Registered: 15th Oct 2008
Posts: 218
Loc: Wallasey
I said Ruper! Oops. sorry

_________________________
Nostalgia ain't what it used to be!

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#272717 - 1st Dec 2008 12:28pm Re: Sky To Appeal ITV Ruling [Re: Morseman]
Rhobit Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 21st Oct 2008
Posts: 167
Loc: Bidston Hill
The reason that OFCOM go after Sky for this and not Virgin is due to competition, it has nothing to do with favouritism.

Sky's current stake in ITV allows them to stifle the flow of liscenced content into the marketplace, something they already have a choke hold on with sky basics and premiums.

Due to Sky's massive financial backing they can afford to absorb losses like the ones they incurred due to the removal of sky basics from cable, but only for so long.

IMO it's a good thing to have Sky's stake in ITV reduced, and regardless of whether Virgin have the money to buy any further stake in ITV or not, it will encourage more general competition in the marketplace.

The product that Virgin supplied in cable TV has its issues, but it is constantly innovating with new features and services as with the on demand ability, and this is something that Sky don't really invest in, the last set of new features for Sky customers was HD content and the ability to set a Sky + recording from your mobile.

Their EPG whilst quite quick desperately needs updating, and when you switch between the two it's remarkable how "clunky" the sky EPG feels. But this is what happens when you're dominant in the market place, you invest less in your technology because you don't need to and jack prices up because you feel the alternative can't really compete.

So I really do hope that OFCOM dismiss this appeal because we'll all be better off in the long run if they do.

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#272731 - 1st Dec 2008 3:11pm Re: Sky To Appeal ITV Ruling [Re: Rhobit]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
If Virgin Media/Flextech had the 100% stake in ITV, then where would it be going? It is already a channel on it's way down (incindentially, it was kicked off the FTSE 100 index the other week) so for Virgin Media to go and have a stab at running it, they may well save it money by their usual neccesary penny pinching, but it would be at a cost of quality. And then what happens? Virgin decide they are not going to pay Sky for carriage on the Sky EPG, whether it be FTV or FTA, so Sky customer's lose all ITV channel's, remeniscent of 1998, so how does that make it a level playing field? If Virgin are allowed to own 100.00% of a major UK broadcaster, then so should any of their competitors (whether that be Sky, TUTV, BT etc...).

Sky don't invest in TVoD? Yeah, that because there is no cost effective method of two way communication via satellite. Push VoD is the limit for DVB-S (economically at least), and Sky have been offering such a service since January 2007, a month or two before Virgin launched theirs. Also I take it you have not seen or heard of the forthcoming IP based TVoD service they have been developing for some time now, because you have been brainwashed by the guy's at Virgin, to aid your brainwashing of customers.

Actually, I do believe you will find that it was Virgin who announced that investment into their TV service would be significantly reduced back in February of this year (did Mr Berkett not have the decency to inform his employee's of the statement he made?), not Sky. Virgin are at a loss, their service is only just approaching, the level's of service that CWC were talking about back in 2000, before NTL got too big for thier boots and made the biggest mistake since BSB launched the Marco Polo satellite. So, 7 year's late, Virgin has finally started to deliver a service that should have been a standard feature of digital cable from the start, and you ae critisizing Sky?

Where was TV Drive/V+ back in 2001, when Sky launched their Sky+ PVR? Oh don't remind me, it didnt arrive for another 5 years...

Where was CR3 in 2002, after CWC had planned rollout in late 2000? Oh don't remind me, it didn't begin rollout until 2003.

Where was the TVoD that should have been on digital cable in the UK from at least late 2001/early 2002? Oh dont remind me, it took another 5 years for them to get their arses into gear.

If you think the last set of "features" for Sky customers was the ability to set your Sky+ from your mobile phone? Oh hold on, that was 3 years ago, maybe more, yes before TV Drive/V+ even existed. I was using that on my 6630 for crying out loud.

As for the EPG being clunky? WTF, there may well be some Freeview PVR's and maybe even Freesat boxes out there, that are starting to surpass the Sky EPG in terms of usability, speed and general simplicity, but there is no way in hell you can compare the cheap off the shelf, ready made, Liberate software used on Virgin Media boxes, to the propriatary system, developed and custom built from the ground up, exclusively for use by Sky by Open... Everyone I know, who has jumped from Virgin to Sky or Sky to Virgin, has commented on how smooth and reliable the Sky EPG is compared to Virgin's poor attempt (well it's not really their fault is it, they do admittadly have the better technology, however they choose not to use it/pay for the development of it). The Sky EPG is fast, reliable, stable and show's 8 day listing without any issue at all. It work's, and make's good use of the somewhat limited constraints of DVB-S.

Oh and I guess you have not seen the modern and sleek brand new EPG 7.16, which has taken more than 2 years of time and investment (yeah, remember that word?) to develop, which is already beginning to roll out across HD boxes as we speak. Sky announced development on this had started in 2005.

I suppose spouting a load of nonsense is handy when working at Virgin, after all, speaking the truth would not sell very much.

Cable is by far the better technology. But unfortunatly, since NTL and Telewest went crazy and paid dearly, at the height of the dotcom boom, the service has developed slower than a tortoise. DVB-C is the Veyron of telecommunications, DVB-S is probably along the lines of a Porsche in comparison, however, Sky have plain and simple got things right, straight from the word go. One day cable will be a better service than Sky, although Sky realise this, hence their development of their IP VoD service, which will be able to take advantage of their own ADSL2+ and the forthcoming 21CN to launch from BT. It isnt going to be as agile as Virgin's, because there is no way for copper DSL to equal fibre-optic DOCSIS, however BT know this, and are already beginning the development of their own fibre network, although it is a long way off; by that time, Virgin might have finally got off their arses and installed FTTH like they were spouting about back in the good old days, but that would cost a lot of money, and we all know that Virgin don't like to invest (before you start spouting that Branson is minted and a sugar daddy and will back you all the way, I shall remind you that he has little interest in Virgin overall and certainly won't be stumping up investment for future services; Virgin Media actually pay him for the use of his brand name lol).

Sky know their limit's and work within them; for instance, Sky have ceased offering new EPG slot's on their system now, due to the possibility that some ageing boxes will slow down as a result of adding more; they won't leave customer's running out of date and crippled boxes struggling to run the software/information, like Virgin did with all the Di1000's, Di2000's and Di4001's that are still in circulation even today and expected to power all these new and funky features that Virgin are supposedly launching (TVoD is the only thing I have have seen in the past few years, probably as a result of them shifting their time and investment away from TV services).

If Sky purchase Tiscali in the next few weeks, as it looks like they could well do, no doubt Virgin will have a moan and groan about that as well; the funny thing is, Virgin are always ready to announce their intentions and talk about these deals, but when it actually comes to putting some money/investment where their mouth is, they fall away quietly, whereas the likes of Sky etc don't talk, they just do it.

If it had not been for SKY competing with BSB in the early day's, this countries television services would still be back in the last decade if cable and BSB had been left to their own devices. As it is, Sky have revolutionised TV in the UK, not just recently, but (moreso) during the 90's and 00's, remember, SKY latterly BSKYB didnt post a penny profit until 1997, due to thier "lack of investment" I guess the cable guys will say.

Cable have finally started to take steps in the right direction, almalgamating all the different networks and format's (is DAVIC sill used in parts, please don't tell me it is?) and the more competition in the market, the better for everyone, with regards both price and quality of service. But don't for one minute start slating Sky's system simply because it "works" just because it is old, when CWC/NTL Telewest/Virgin Media have implemented tonnes of different revision's and still can't grasp the stability or speed of Sky's EPG system (that's what you get when you use an off the shelf "one size fits all" system, instead of, funnily enough, investing (there's that word again) in a proprietary system).

PS. Is the EPG still only 24 hour's (except on TV Drive/V+ boxes)? Cos Sky's "old and clunky" EPG has been 7 days since... well late 2002 iirc.

TVoD is a nice idea, but give me a half hearted attempt at TVoD, or my trusty old (out of date and clunky) Sky+ EPG, which has basically been VoD for me since 2003, and I will choose Sky every time. That's not to say I will be staying with Sky however, but I would'nt ditch them for Virgin, I left NTL for Sky and it was a breath of fresh air in comparison, and although the Virgin EPG has improved since the dark days, it's still slow and cumbersome compared to Sky.

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#272869 - 2nd Dec 2008 1:22pm Re: Sky To Appeal ITV Ruling [Re: MattLFC]
Rhobit Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 21st Oct 2008
Posts: 167
Loc: Bidston Hill
The amount of investment that Virgin are plugging into making the service more reliable and introducing new features is quite frankly shocking, at least that is, for the number of different projects underway. Beleive me, for what is currently in development it's a little heart in mouth for me as I know the service it will deliver when rolled out will be amazing for customers yet end up putting me out of a job.

The return path as you rightly state for the cable network is its primary advantage and Virgin Media are going to be taking advantage of that. Automatic polling of the network to detect and ring home faults before the customer even reports it to us, now you tell me that isn't good service.

We have new PVR boxes in development from samsung, and beleive me, I'll be the first person to sling mud at the Scientific Atlanta V+ boxes when this thing comes out (although the 3rd tuner does make life so much more convenient!).

And yes, I know that the HD version of the Sky + has one of these too, but I'd rather not be stuck paying an extra monthly fee for it.

In terms of the length of the EPG impacting on speed and reliability of standard digital boxes you're probably right, Virign did trial out 7 day listings for standard boxes and it was deemed that alot of boxes in circulation at that time (older SA and PACE boxes) couldn't handle it (incidentally everything but later model scientific atlanta and PACE 4000s are in the process of being taken out of circulation). As a result in order to ensure quicker operation of the EPG it was restricted to 24 hours on these boxes. This is just the flipside of Sky stating that they won't hand out any more epg slots to ensure no reduction in performance, but with the amount of shite phone in shows that have been on sky in the past, they could probably free up alot more if they got rid of those. Again, I'll fully admit that the sky boxes do seem more able to handle more information as the EPG goes, but that's not too hard to allow for when your customers have to buy and then pay to support those boxes, something which virgin don't do - the only box that you ''can buy'' is the V+ box currently, and even that is supported cost free to the customer in the event of a fault. God knows with the amount of times the HDD in my parents sky+ has failed, that would've been an advantage to them.

In terms of rolling out CR3/TVOD yes this maybe is all stuff that should've been rolled out years before, but the fact of the matter is that upgrades for these types of service are prohibitively more costly to roll out than on a DVB-S platform. You're looking at upgrading thousands of cabinets with new hardware all accross the UK, the fact that they weren't here to my mind is neither here nor there, they're here now, and once you get used to them it's seriously difficult to go without.


Your note of sky taking tiscali back over was something I hadn't hear about and makes me giggle, they used to be part of the News Corporation family and were known as Line One before they were sold and run as Tiscali. My Father's actually worked for News Coporation for some time and he ended up with ADSL through them eventually and I have to say as ADSL providers go he's never had a worse experience. Eitherway, what I do know is that being able to watch TVOD through your TV and not your computer will always be preferable.

Going back to ITV, I don't beleive Virgin ARE going to carry on with their 100% takeover, but eitherway that isn't the point. Sky DOES have 100% ownership of a major TV broadcaster in the sky basics and sports and movies packages. You may think that the investment in ITV may go down etc if Virgin were to take it over, and I can't say it won't because I have no idea what Virgin are planning to do with regard to the situation. What it would mean though is that they would then start entering into the same league as Sky in the content that they're able to provide and that is what the ruling is about. It's not about making the deal better for Virgin as a business, it's about promoting competition between Sky and the rest of the marketplace. Further, if ITV's content has been going downhill how can Sky's partial ownership and investment in it be seen as anything BUT anti-competetive?

Anyway, stepping away from all that tease Yes DAVIC is still used in parts of the network, but I beleive there are plans to upgrade the remaining ones to UBR soon enough, and I can't wait for that either, the SNMP polling on them just doesn't match up to the UBR's and can make fault finding a little more of a pain.

I grew up with Sky both on analogue satelite and digital, I've only had Virgin/NTL services since I went to Uni in the last 5 years so and I infinitely prefer it. I do know that what you'd have experienced up here on the Bromley platform has seen slower development than we did on Langley down in Swansea (we had cr3 about a year or two before you guys) but from what I've seen, the investment is there even if it's not immediately apparent.

They are two very different ways of going about providing TV services and since taking service with NTL I always thought that it was a much more pleasant way of being dealt with as a customer.

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#272874 - 2nd Dec 2008 2:34pm Re: Sky To Appeal ITV Ruling [Re: Rhobit]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
Aha, the Bromley/Langley divide, is that still going on? We'll blame the Knapp NTL for that problem if so, very little to do with the modern day NTL lol.

I can't believe they are still using DAVIC, are the customers on that still locked in a walled garden? If so, they must be pi$$ed lol.

Sky has'nt done anything at all with ITV, which probably signal's the reason as to why they bought it (Virgin announced they wanted to buy ITV, so Sky came in and put a stop to that - anti-competitive in some ways, but in other way's its fair trade). I think Sky are mainly peaved about losing hundred's of millions if they are forced to sell, given the current state of ITV and the world economy as a whole.

If they are forced to sell, I can't see Virgin having any interest in buying ITV now anyway, current financial constraints and lack of credit available to them prevent's it. However, one thing is for sure, if Sky are ultimately forced to sell, and they do lose hundreds of millions, the way they will make that money back, is by passing it on to the consumer. I bet the rate card for Sky Sports and Sky Movies increases if that happens?

Im a little surprised you hadnt heard of the Sale of Tiscali, Virgin were actually quite possibly leading the race to purchase it until recently, when they announced they were pulling out for whatever reason (I guess the current financial climate probably had something to do with it) and Sky are now seen as the only realistic bid for the company (450 million is a figure I have seen quoted). Im not sure if that figure is for all the company, as Tiscali said it would consider splitting the company, but it would be ideal for BSKYB/News Corp to get a hold of the whole company, as their main base is Italy, so would go hand in hand with News Corp having Sky in the UK and SKY Italia.

It's all about Sky getting IPTV and full VoD functionality (Tiscali TV and Homechoice), but as a bonus for Sky, it would create an UK ISP giant overnight with Sky having 1.8 million broadband customers and Tiscali having 1.85 million customers which would actually take it slightly past Virgin for broadband customer's, by 0.5 million, so in that respect alone, I think it is worth the money when one consider's the extra LLU capacity they will gain, and the fact that they paid 275 million for Easynet, which at the time was a corporate only company, with no residential customers and few LLU'ed exchanges.

Btw, I know exactly what you mean about the amount of shite that finds its way onto the Sky EPG, but then I guess if they pay/bid more for the space than anyone else, they will get it.

Incendentally, I remember just recently GCap announced the Sale of two radio slots for a much higher price than they were paying for them, and Cellcast sold two slots in the 140's for a whopping 1.4 million lol. In fact the most bizarre thing this year, was when the owners of Babe Central decided to cash in on their EPG slot by advertising it for Sale to anyone who wants it, on public forums and eBay lol... Apparently, they closed the channel down, and asked Sky what they should do with the EPG slot, and Sky told them to find their own buyer for it lol.

It's actually pretty fair the EPG system on Sky, because earlier this year, Eicom announced they had no use for the Performance Channel EPG slot anymore, and Sky actually paid them to buy it back, so they could use it for the launch of a new Sky Arts channel lol.

With regards the competition aspects of Sky Sports and Movies, they are protected by the rate card, so Sky don't really control them. Whereas Setanta have gotten into bed with Virgin, and offer Setanta Sports for free on the Virgin platform in their XL package (and indeed the TUTV platform as well and quite possibly BT Vision?), whereas they have decided to just buy a Sky EPG slot and supply direct to customer, meaning Sky viewers have to pay the rediculous price of 12.99 per month for the same thing that a lot of Virgin and TUTV customers get for free. In addition to this, Setanta are expected to announce a tie up with ITV and the BBC, in which they will offer the services free over Freesat. So all this is hardly fair competition for Sky Sports or even Sky Digital is it?

The reason for this of course being that Sky allows any broadcaster (even Virgin) open access to it's network, so long as they buy an EPG slot (and they allow anyone to buy available EPG slots), so Setanta have bypassed Sky, which is why you can get Setanta without a Sky subscription.

However, Virgin do not offer open access to their network and restict EPG slots on a selective basis, which is the main reason Virgn customers lost the Sky Basic channels when the dispute took place this year, Sky wanted more money than Virgin would pay, but then Virgin made their customers pay by not allowing Sky to offer the channels via direct access, which would have actually meant Sky would need to pay Virgin, so it was a case of cutting off their nose to spite their face. Whilst Virgin were taking the moral high ground, they forgot about their customers, and the fact that some customers would have preferred to have the channels than watch Virgin ultimately achieve nothing in a costly high court row. Also, as bad as things got from both sides, I think the "Sky Snooze" etc was a very childish reaction from Virgin.

So although many people are under the illusion that Sky have unparrallelled control over the PayTV market, the reality is, they are pretty locked down on what they can offer, to who, and when. Whereas other companies are allowed to do what they want on Sky's network without much hinderence, and protected by various measures as part of the licence Ofcom grants to Sky, which do not apply to other providers.

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#272878 - 2nd Dec 2008 3:32pm Re: Sky To Appeal ITV Ruling [Re: MattLFC]
Rhobit Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 21st Oct 2008
Posts: 167
Loc: Bidston Hill
The open access aspect of sky as far as I was aware was a business decision on their part?

I know that if flextech turned round and pulled all their channels from Sky I know that NTL:Telewest have an operating stake in those channels so although highly unlikely, could someday be a possibility, sky would probably sink.

I know again that Virgin operating the cable network as a closed access is due to them investing the majority of the money in infrastructure and there of course, being limited bandwidth available even on cable. When you're balancing things like HD VOD along with the regular channel slots you need to keep good levels of control to ensure QoS. Additionally, I think the original sky slots on the spectrum were kept behind because there was no realistic expectation that they'd be gone forever, although I have to say, I didn't really miss em much.

As for the DAVIC's there's no walled garden for tv at all, but open internet access is no longer available. You will occasionally get a walled garden on BB but that's only until your cable modem is registered properly on the network. Realistically, there's nothing really wrong with them as they are, you get a little less functionality for fault finding is all.

When it comes to Sky's ''domination'' of the pay tv market it is just that domination by and large. The Virgin Media network geographically doesn't cover much of the nation, and the fact that they have over 5 million customers in the areas we do cover, I think is telling. Granted bundling TV with the Internet product, which in my experienced really is unparallelled is gonna be a big plus.

Due to Sky's ability to provide Pay TV services practically anywhere they don't have any competition in the majority of areas and that's what makes ofcom tend to come down on them more, coupled with their historically anti-competetive practices when it comes to content, you can see why regulators are reluctant to let them ''govern themselves'' so to speak. As you say, sky had what, 17% in ITV but were doing nothing with it? There's more evidence that it was anti-competetive. Sell the shares to a company who would rather work towards bettering the channel than just sit on their investment to keep competitors out.

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