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#332090 - 26th Jun 2009 1:20pm Sky may have to share TV channels

Sky may have to share TV channels

BSkyB should be forced to make its premium sports and film channels available to rival broadcasters, watchdog Ofcom has proposed.
Ofcom said such a move may be a "most appropriate way of ensuring fair and effective competition".

BSkyB has immediately rejected the proposal, saying it will "use all available legal avenues", and that it "fundamentally" disagreed with Ofcom.

Ofcom has asked interested parties to respond to the proposals by 18 August.

'Enforce rigorously'

The watchdog said it proposed that BSkyB would have to offer the subscription channels to its rival broadcasters at "regulated prices".
Ofcom said its proposal would enable more rival broadcasters to access and offer the channels to viewers, "thereby promoting choice and innovation".

While users of cable service Virgin Media can already subscribe to BSkyB's premium sports channels, Ofcom hopes its proposal will mean a growing number of other companies will be able to air the channels, either through terrestrial digital broadcasters or via the internet.

"We do not believe that this proposed remedy would have a disproportionate impact on Sky, since we consider the proposed prices are above the level required to allow Sky a reasonable return on its content costs," said the watchdog.

Ofcom has yet to give a date for when it expected to publish its final statement, but analysts said this could be released as early as the end of this year.

Barring any successful legal challenge from BSkyB, Ofcom's final decision will be binding.

Telecoms group BT, which runs a TV service called BT Vision that adds on-demand material on top of freeview broadcasts, said it welcomed Ofcom's findings.

"The proposal to force Sky to wholesale its content is welcome, but we now need Ofcom to step up the pace and to enforce this rigorously," said Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT Retail.

"Prices have been too high for too long but this could all change if Ofcom breaks Sky's stranglehold."

Shares in BSkyB were up one pence or 0.22% to 452.75p in Friday morning trading in London.

Premier League dominance

BSkyB is controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which has a 39% stake.

The broadcaster's dominance of the pay-to-watch sports television market was brought into focus last week following the collapse of its smaller rival Setanta.

Next season, BSkyB will air 92 live English Premier League games, while Setanta's 46 games will now be shown by US firm ESPN.

For the three football seasons from 2010/11 to 2012/13, the number of Premier League games BSkyB will show rises to 115 of the 138 available each year.

A European Commission ruling that Premier League games cannot all go to one broadcaster is currently due to run out in 2012.

Ofcom said that in addition to its proposal that BSkyB has to offer its sports channels to more rivals, it would be talking to the Premier League about a further commitment not to give all the matches to one broadcaster from 2013/14 onwards.


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#332097 - 26th Jun 2009 1:54pm Re: Sky may have to share TV channels [Re: ]
MattLFC Offline
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Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
Lol a bit stupid in honesty, they already have the rate-card agreement in place to prevent from Sky over-charging competitors for premium channels, if it is profitable for Sky to offer premium services via other mediums, then its something they will do.

The reason they won't touch BT Vision with a bargepole, is firstly, there are concerns over QoS aspects of the technology, and secondly, they have a tiny subscriber base - both them and TUTV have less than 800,000 customers between them, of which the vast majority are looking for a cheaper, better value-for-money alternative to Sky, not so much for premium content or services.

The other reason BT are moaning, is because they got into bed with Setanta and promoted it against Sky Sports etc, and now BT Vision are widows, and have nothing to sell with their sports package.

And of course, BT Group don't have a monopoly over the entire telephone network, whether it be allowing other companies to purchase wholesale telephone lines, or Openreach not allowing other companies engineer access to their exchanges etc...

Maybe if BT allow Easynet engineers to have access to exchanges with Easynet hardware installed, Sky will then let BT pay the money for Sky Sports airing.

The problem with BT, is they rant on about all this shit, they want to ensure that premier league games dont go to one provider, they want access to Sky premium channels etc, but when it comes to the crunch, they won't put their money where their mouth is and fkin pay for it!!

They had as much right as Sky does to bid for the Premier League game packages, just like ESPN and Setanta did, and they could'nt afford it, or didnt want to pay it. Its called business im afraid, and they can't keep up, they should shut up and stay out.

It would hardly be good for the consumer anyway, if matches were spread across ESPN, Sky and BT Vision. It would therefore mean football fans would be forced into the following just to watch their matchs:

- Sky Sports - £33 per month
- ESPN Sports - £10 - £15 per month
- BT Vision Total Sports - £19.00 per month
- BT Total Broadband Option 1 - £16.00 per month

So thats £83.00 per month, that BT are hoping customers/football fans will be happy to pay just to be able to watch all the matches.

That's before you consider the fact that BT will then force the customers into using their broadband, creating another monopoly market, which begs the question, if Sky should be forced into sharing access to their TV services with competitors, how about BT lead the way and allow BT Vision to be used with other ISP's?

Oh yeah, I forgot, BT say they are the only ISP who can provide the service reliably, despite having one of the slowest, most-oversold and most-unreliable services around, using age-old technology that other providers began pahsing out 6 years ago!!


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