Sky: Ofcom ignoring pay-TV

BSkyB COO Mike Darcey has accused Ofcom of ignoring the diversity of the subscription television sector and perpetuating an outdated system.

“It is not the job of a regulator to protect the interests of a small group of favoured broadcasters. They should not be trying to prop up a model which has history and tradition on its side, but which faces substantial challenges going forward.” Darcey told the IEA Future of Broadcasting conference that Ofcom would continue to respond to calls for more subsidies at the expense of new entrants.

Highlighting channels from the Sky line-up including History Channel, Discovery, Nickelodeon, UKTV, National Geographic, Sky One and Sky Arts, Darcey said the strength of the pay-TV sector lay in its accountability. If viewers did not like the content, then unlike with the BBC licence fee, they could simply cancel their subscription.

“If Ofcom had a genuinely open mind, it would recognise that the range, diversity and quality of content being made available with public service characteristics is flourishing – on television and online, he said.

Darcey said subscription was able to underpin new technologies such as high definition that to determined free-to-air broadcasters remained a cost burden that might otherwise have been sunk into new content.