November 19, 2015

Considering BT YouView? Like your sport? Maybe think again

BT YouView may not be as attractive an option for sports fans as previously thought, and sometimes it feels like the sole role of Ofcom is to maintain Sky's dominance of the UK market.
Ofcom has just announced its decision to remove the regulation requiring Sky to offer Sky Sports on a wholesale basis. Sky Sports on BT YouView is the only supply arrangement for Sky Sports under Ofcom's wholesale must-offer regulation (Virgin Media's carriage of Sky Sports is different and unaffected by this ruling). Ofcom says that it
"expects all providers to engage willingly, constructively and in a timely manner to ensure sports continues to be made widely available to viewers. Ofcom continues to monitor the pay TV market closely. Should evidence emerge of practices which we consider to be prejudicial to fair and effective competition, we will quickly reassess the need for regulation."
In other words Ofcom is expecting Sky to play fair (stop sniggering at the back of the class, Murdoch Jnr) and give BT it's Sports channels at a commercially sensible price. That's the same BT Sky has been at loggerheads with for the last few years over sports rights. It doesn't take a genius to see that all the power is now in Sky's hands, who can fall into a convenient commercial dispute with BT that would remove Sky Sports from the BT service whilst everyone waits for Ofcom to "quickly reassess the need for regulation". Ofcom has never done anything "quickly", and those months, possibly years, could kill BT as an option for sports fans stone dead.
Oh, and don't expect the Government to intervene: it's too busy dismantling the BBC and Channel 4 for Rupert to pay attention to this one.


Irishmanc said...
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Irishmanc said...

I doubt that Sky will be looking at causing to many problems for BT since BT can always increase the wholesale price of fibre broadband which Sky relies in for their On demand service especially this new Q box they are releasing next year. Previously when BT tried to hike the prices to their rivals Ofcom threatened to take the telephone lines off BT as this infrastructure had been paid with public money before BT was privatised. Fibre is different as BT have paid for the infrastructure and only use the existing network from the external fibre box, if BT refused to supply Sky fibre over its network Sky would be forced into building its own network or doing a deal with Virgin Media to use their network.

tassiekev said...

I'd agree, anyone who already has BTTV needs a reasonable BB speed - if you have that then a £15 NowTV box fixes the problem. It may not be the ideal solution but a subscription to SkySports via Now currently runs at app £32pm for all 6 channels. I can't see a new wholesale price for SS 1&2 being much different than it is now.

rowland2008 said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly,i have recently swapped from Virgin to BT but have always used now tv to get my sky sports,£32 a month sounds a lot but the streaming quality has improved greatly,(thru a roku 2 box )at near HD streams 720p i think,sky sports on virgin in HD can't be far off that price.

tassiekev said...

Just invested in an LG 42" Smart Tv with Now, Amazon, Netflix, Google Play, Wuaki etc. I have BTTV & Sky package currently but BTTV + Now Entertainment, Amazon, Netflix & Sky Sports via Now comes in at just under £100pm and is looking like the preferred option for the near future. More than I could reasonably watch.

tassiekev said...

PS - that price includes BB, line rental & weekend calls