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Summary:

BSkyB’s set-top boxes may have to offer services like Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), Lovefilm and Blinkbox alongside its own Sky Movies, under new pr…

A Sky+HD box
photo: DeclanTM

BSkyB’s set-top boxes may have to offer services like Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), Lovefilm and Blinkbox alongside its own Sky Movies, under new proposals from the Competition Commission.

That is one of two new remedies proposed by the commission, which this summer provisionally ruled that Sky’s exclusive deals with six Hollywood studios is anti-competitive.

In an additional new consultation, the commission is asking…

  • “whether access to Sky’s Ethernet-enabled STBs would enable qualifying OTT movie service providers to compete more effectively with Sky’s movies services”
  • or “whether, in the foreseeable future, this remedy will be rendered superfluous through technical and market developments, in particular the adoption by consumers of Internet-enabled TVs and STBs, including YouView”.

Sky has only recently enabled its own on-board on-demand service, Anytime+, which includes movies, on its boxes. It is also increasingly making its own content available on other devices and platforms including YouView, for which it is a content partner, when it launches next year.

A compulsion to host rival services on its own box would be a massive boon to rival services like Netflix, Lovefilm and Blinkbox because Sky is in around 10.5 million UK homes.

But the notion is likely be contested vigorously by Sky. In any case, the technical challenge could be considerable since Sky’s current Sky+ box was not built to host over-the-top services.

Research carried out by Screen Digest for the commission has found the most common scenario across leading markets is for pay-TV rights with the six Hollywood majors to be split between different operators.

Previous remedies proposed by the commission had been…

  • Restricting the number of major studios from which Sky may license exclusive FSPTW (first subscription pay-TV window) rights
  • Restricting the range of exclusive rights which Sky may license from the major studios
  • ‘Must retail’ measures requiring Sky to acquire on a wholesale basis and market to its retail customers products incorporating FSPTW movie content created by other parties

The commission has ruled out these remedies…

  • Wholesale must-offer
  • Divesting Sky of its rights acquisition, content aggregation and wholesaling functions
  • Divesting a proportion of Sky’s retail customers
  • Changing the duration of the FSPT
  • A price control
  • Coterminous studio contract

It has also proposed “requiring Sky to publish the expiry dates of its contracts relating to FSPTW rights with the six major studios, so as to increase the ability
for rival bidders to engage in timely negotiations”.

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  1. They did this with the Football on Sky it was some Goverment interefernce.

    My grandfather used to get the 6 bundles from sky and then by law 2 bundles had to go to another channel.

    So to get the 6 bundles he had to pay Sky the same 19.99 I think for the 4 bundles and then had to pay another 9.99 to another company for the other 2 bundles.

    So he ended up paying another 9.99 a month for the same 6 bundles.

    So will the same be the same for movies with us paying extra to other channels for the same movies

    The competition commission seems to be working not for the public but making them pay more for the same

    Why dont they leave Sky alone they bring football and movies cheaper to the public without the goverment poking their noses in

    Emma

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    1. Sorry but that is mostly nonsense.  Sky Sports have never lost any Premier League matches.

      The EU and the Premier League came to an agreement which did break the rights into smaller packages, on the basis that when the television rights had been sold as a single package no one could afford to compete with Sky.

      While this did also include the provision that no broadcaster can hold the rights to every package, those new packages were made by combing both the previous TV rights package and the pay-per-view package.

      So although Setanta originally won two of the packages, the number of matches retained by Sky Sports was the same as before this remedy.  Sky Sports subscribers lost nothing, at least in term of volume.  And prior to this anyone wishing to see every televised match still had to pay twice, for Sky Sports and for PremPlus.

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  2. I’d just like Sky to make Anytime+ available to non-Sky Broadband customers. I pay nearly £60 a month to Sky but can’t get access to Anytime+ on my HD box because I live in Jersey and can’t get access to Sky Broadband.

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