No new regulation on Sky Access Control
Ofcom says it has no plans to impose new regulatory conditions on Sky’s provision of interactive services to third party channels.
It follows the removal of the Continuation Notice and commitments by Sky to continue allowing broadcasters access to STB software under current terms.
The so-called Access Control services include existing interactive services, such as alternative videostreams carried under the Red Button; on demand services such as the iPlayer and other PSB video on demand services and future forms of interactive services including OTT content.
Although there has been a shift of some interactive and gaming services to the internet, Ofcom says that some interactive services can only be effectively provided if the content provider has a direct relationship with the OTT provider.
“We remain of the view that many of the existing interactive services for enhancing broadcasting content are valued by consumers and that there should be continued access for third parties in a way that secures benefits to these end-users,” said the regulator in a document that has been redacted in part.
Sky has already developed a set of voluntary commitments under which it would continue to provide existing AC services. These include a commitment from Sky to provide services on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and a cap of £100,000 per annum for access to the current services on the current and any future STB, though additional charges apply for some services.
Third parties have the right to renew existing contracts on their current terms, effectively protecting current supply indefinitely. There’s also a list of named interactive services, which cover all services currently or recently used by third parties including the BBC, BT and S4C to deliver interactive services via satellite.
However, there is concern as to how Sky might treat the PSB on demand services not covered by the commitments. “The Act confers broad powers allowing us to consider a wide range of issues related to network access and interoperability of services under sections 73 and 74 and the wider significant market power (SMP) framework,” said Ofcom.