BT's television service could lose Sky Sports

19 November 2015

football The ugly scrapping between BT and Sky continues this week, with a decision by Ofcom to ditch a load of rules, which would normally force Sky to provide channels Sky Sports 1 and 2, to rivals at a controlled price.

Ofcom have said that the Wholesale Must Offer obligation (WMO) isn't necessary any longer, as Sky had demonstrated that it was willing enough to offer their sports channels to their competitors on commercial terms.

The regulator added that Sky's introduction of NowTV, and BT's buying of football rights, shows that the market is more competitive than when the rules were initially brought in, so the end of WMO could see BT customers unable to watch Sky Sports 1 and 2.

This is far from over though, as BT are looking at their legal options after the decision from Ofcom. A spokesperson called this move "very disappointing", adding: "We will consider our legal options in the light of this decision and, in the meantime, continue to offer our customers access to Sky Sports 1 and 2."

"Ofcom has said it is important for pay-TV retailers to have access to key Sky content to be able to compete effectively in this market, and that they want consumers to have access to these channels. We therefore expect Sky to behave appropriately so that we can continue to offer our customers access."

"We still believe that effective remedies are essential to address the failure of competition in the Pay TV market, in which we estimate Sky has had around 75pc share of retail subscription revenues for more than 10 years."

This row has been going on for years now, with claim and counterclaim being batted back and forth over deals on sports channels. Sky argue that BT have basically refused to let BT Sport to be included in a Sky subscription, while BT has claimed that Sky has been undermining competition in sports rights by exploiting their dominance.

As it stands, BT will now have to have commercial negotiations with Sky without WMO, and seeing as this is so petty and longstanding, Sky may price out BT, leaving their customers without the goods.

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