Ofcom: consumers have benefitted from pay-TV decisions

October 29, 2012 11.24 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Ofcom has highlighted the differences between the Competition Commission and the Competition Appeal Tribunal over competition within the UK pay-TV sector.In a belated response to the Competition Appeal Tribunal on Ofcom’s earlier decision on the pay-TV market, the communications regulator says through its actions consumers have benefited from greater choice and innovation through wider availability of premium content.

“Consumers can access Sky Sports 1 and 2 through BT Vision’s platform and through Top Up TV as a direct result of our must-offer obligation on Sky. Virgin Media’s cable TV customers can also subscribe to high-definition versions of these channels,” said Ofcom “We welcome also Sky’s agreement to make its premium sports channels available through TalkTalk’s new TV service, which we see as a further positive development”.

However, Ofcom drew attention to the statement from the Competition Commission that said competition within the pay-TV sector remained ineffective. “Ofcom will continue to monitor developments to establish whether further action may be required to promote competition for consumers”.

Ofcom said it was pleased the Tribunal agreed it had the power to imposed a wholesale must-offer remedy – there is no mention of Sky’s successful appeal against the rates imposed – and added that if Sky now acts as a willing wholesaler it should have a positive impact on competition and offer benefits for consumers.