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Introduction Tim O'Sullivan

Ofcom launches new review into TV sports content


Ofcom has begun a review to find if regulation surrounding key sports content on TV is still relevant. BT believes that pay TV needs regulating by Ofcom because Sky has significant market power, even after BT’s creation of BT Sport to bring more competition.

As a result of Ofcom’s 2010 ruling, Sky was required to offer its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels to other pay TV retailers on a wholesale basis on regulated terms.

Following a series of appeals by Sky and cross-appeals by BT and other communications providers, Sky raised the issue of Ofcom’s jurisdiction to impose the “wholesale must-offer” (WMO) obligation. Last month, the Supreme Court refused Sky’s permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s earlier judgment – allowing BT to supply Sky Sports to BT TV YouView customers.

This latest review into the WMO obligation will assess whether regulation of the supply of key sports content imposed in 2010 remains appropriate and, if so, whether any changes to that regulation are necessary.

BT has always maintained that Ofcom was correct to impose the WMO on Sky and this remedy remains essential to address the significant competition concerns with Sky’s supply of its channels. As a new entrant providing much needed competition and lower prices, BT supports Ofcom’s initial view that maintaining regulation on Sky remains appropriate to ensure fair and effective competition and no regulation of BT Sport is necessary.

BT’s low share of pay revenues in the sector stands in marked contrast to Sky’s well-established dominance of the sector. Ofcom intends to publish a statement or further consultation in 2015.

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