Sky Italia withdraws from 'beauty contest' tender process

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 01-12-2011

Indicating its clear opposition to a process which it believes is stymieing competition in Italy, Sky Italia has withdrawn its application to tender for the allocation of DTT frequencies, via a beauty contest.

Sky has condemned the “excessive duration” of the tender process which it believes will unavoidably affect its outcome and regards it as becoming entirely incompatible with the need for predictable planning of the investments required in the event of an assignment of frequencies. Moreover, it says the process contains “controversial elements” connected to the implementation of a regulation whose rules in its eyes clearly favour the incumbent operators.
Sky Italia has thus notified the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and the European Commission (EC) of its decision, which it calls unconditional and acting with immediate effect, which it hopes will encourage new discussions between all operators and the new Government. Furthermore it would like to see a deep review of rules aimed at redefining the Italian television market in terms of competition.
“We hope our decision will make its contribution to the Italian television market by opening a constructive debate on a process that risked slowing growth rather than promoting it," said Andrea Zappia, CEO of Sky Italia.
Sky had participated in the process, initiated by the previous Italian Government, after receiving specific authorisation in July 2010 from the EC which, says the pay-TV operator, had stressed how the company was helping to foster openness in the market.
However, it now feels that the beauty contest process, which follows procedures established by the previous Government, no longer represents the market’s real need for development and openness to competition, and also risks becoming a negative element for the market itself.
Added Zappia: “We are convinced that the objective in the coming months will be, and should be, creating the conditions to make television a driver of the digital economy and – in order to generate more employment and development – to unleash the remarkable creative potential that is part of Italy’s DNA. In this sense, I believe that the beauty contest should have been an important opportunity, but we missed it due to the structure of the process."