Ofcom Launches Next Phase of Pay-TV Investigation
[12-18-07 – Satellite Today] U.K. communications regulator Ofcom has published a consultation document investigating the pay-TV market which suggests that the regulator does not necessarily believe that there are issues with competition in the marketplace, a major boost for BSkyB.
The regulator is examining the competitiveness of the pay-TV market and whether customers are getting a fair deal through the various pay-TV alternatives. Setanta Sports, BT, Top Up TV and Virgin Media asked Ofcom in January to investigate the market to see if competition was working. BSkyB has a vice-like grip on the U.K. pay-TV market with more than 8 million subscribers and disagreed with its competition and said the market was working effectively.
In its initial findings, Ofcom said the pay TV market “had delivered significant benefits to consumers, growing from almost nothing in the early 1990s to one that now provides services to over 11 million consumers today.” Ofcom also said there had “been reasonable” levels of customer satisfaction.
Ofcom did outline some concerns such as whether access to premium content is provided in a fair manner.
Companies can respond to Ofcom’s initial assessment, and if Ofcom believes there are problems, it could take action to ensure a more level playing field. Ofcom likely will publish a further consultation in spring.