BT forces Sky wholesale pricing review

February 18, 2014 08.44 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Sky Sports NewsBT has succeeded in its bid to have the competition tribunal to re-examine its decision to stop Sky Sports 1 and 2 being offered to competitors under more favourable terms.

In Summer 2012 the tribunal concluded in a scathing report that Ofcom’s core competition concern that Sky had deliberately withheld from other retailers the supply of its premium channels to be unfounded.

Lord Justice Aikens of the Court of Appeal said he was satisfied that the CAT misconstrued the Statement by failing to appreciate the importance of Ofcom’s conclusion that the rate-card price and the effect of the penetration discounts that were proposed by Sky themselves gave rise to “competition concerns”.

“The failure of the CAT correctly to interpret the Statement or to deal with the rate-card price and penetration discount issues has the consequence that it is unclear whether, despite the findings of fact that the CAT has made in favour of Sky, there remain significant, independent, competition concerns based on the rate-card price and penetration discount, as found by Ofcom in the Statement.”

In a statement, Ofcom said: Ofcom welcomes the Court of Appeal’s decision that the judgment of the Competition Appeal Tribunal failed properly to consider Ofcom’s findings that there was ineffective competition in the market.

“Ensuring fair and effective competition in the pay-TV market has always been Ofcom’s objective. Ofcom’s 2010 decision that Sky must offer premium sports channels to other providers was designed to deliver choice and innovation to consumers through greater competition.”