Is Sky Sports about to get cheaper for BT and Virgin customers?
Football invariably won't be coming home during the World Cup this summer - you'll have to settle for the Quarter Finals, or similar - but it is about to get cheaper if you watch it anywhere other than with a Sky subscription. Ofcom has today told Sky to reduce the amount it charges other broadcasters to offer Sky Sports - the likes of Virgin Media and BT - by nearly a quarter.
The Murdoch empire has been told to reduce the wholesale price at which it sells Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 from the current £13.88 to £10.63 per subscriber per month. Over a year, it would mean a saving for the customer on a bundled TV package of around £24. Of course Sky are appealing the decision, so it's not a done deal just yet; even if the deal does go through, it wouldn't stop Sky juggling its schedules and perhaps moving key sporting events to other premium channels or pay-per-view.
The regulators are also about to go after Sky concerning their restriction of premium movie rights, because it has a knock-on effect for the subscription video-on-demand market. Also bundled in with the decision, Ofcom gave Sky permission to resurrect Picnic, Sky's Pay TV service for Freeview. That would mean the end of Sky's free channels on Freeview, replaced with subscription channels. Bah. So Sky will appeal everything except the decisions in their interests, and nothing good comes of it for the consumer. Good work.