June 16, 2009

OFCOM report on Pay TV "coming soon"

According to trade journal Media Week, OFCOM looks likely to find in favour of Virgin Media, BT et al and punish Sky in the report on Pay TV services later this month:
Ofcom is expected shortly to propose a new regulatory regime that will require BSkyB to offer, or wholesale, its premium sport and movie channels to rivals such as Virgin Media on regulated terms[...]
Ofcom is expected to throw its weight behind so-called "wholesale must-offer" obligations, meaning that Sky wholesales designated premium channels to other pay-TV retailers at regulated terms.
It is thought that while the original complainants would support such a mechanism, the parties are eager for Ofcom to apply any wholesale must-offer remedy to all Sky's premium channels to prevent it withholding certain sports coverage. It is also thought the parties want Ofcom to fix wholesale prices at a level that promotes effective competition.
There's no mention in the article as to whether Sky's premium channels means the high definition versions of Sky sports and movies channels - but to my mind it would be a short-sighted ruling if it didn't. Keep those fingers crossed, Mr Berkett...


lee said...


Sorry...just have to love how it's "coming soon"


howardmicks said...

Might get some hd channels then thanx to ofcom,Then VM will give us all false hope and poor excuses again.

Nialli said...

Think I may give the "coming soon" gag a rest...

lee said...

Ultimately, I really do believe that things will come, I DO support VM in that other things (high-speed broadband, On-Demand) have taken preference, and in the grand scheme of things, perhaps this is better and sensible:
1) More users require broadband than HD (SIGNIFICANTLY more) - a company of course has to prioritise to the masses
2) They lead the field in these two areas, so want to make these the best they can and advertise like crazy, just as Sky do the same with HD
3) People use Blu-Ray for HD too (perhaps more?) - better content, once purchased it's your own, no signal issues and so on

The thing is, HD will eventually become standard, and standard expectation by what, say...5 years time? So whilst the industry is building up, they will concentrate on different things first.

Carol Steele said...

If OFCOM insist that Sky sell their premium channels to competitors, I wonder if they could make Virgin sell off their cable broadband to their competitors too.

Nialli said...

This particular OFCOM report won't cover that, but it's an interesting one, especially in light of the Digital Britain report. The cable industry's investment into the fibre network leaves Virgin heavily burdened with debt, but it's arguably its greatest asset. If the Govenment was serious about fast broadband for all it would buy the network off of VM and use it to serve every household within reach. This would leave BT to cable up the areas VM don't cover. Instead, we have BT upgrading areas already covered by Virgin because they have the greatest density of paying customers. Madness.
If OFCOM really had balls, it would require content to be divorced from platforms, and you'd be able to direct from Sky via satellite or cable. But OFCOM's extremely unlikely to do this and it will take the IP TV revolution to create a more even playing field.