Sky Movies cleared by Competition Commission

BT and Virgin grumble and shake their heads

August 2, 2012

Sky has got the all clear from the Competition Commission, which has just concluded its lengthy investigation into whether the firm’s dominance of exclusives of major Hollywood movies is fair.

The watchdog said that Sky’s hoovering up of major studio movie rights didn’t unbalance the pay TV market, even though it had previously said that this did actually give Murdoch’s outfit an advantage (a stance it reversed this May).

The commission noted that the market is now a lot more even-handed, and the consumer has options, what with the emergence of Lovefilm Instant and Netflix movie streaming services in the UK.

Indeed, Sky has brought out its own on-demand streaming service, Now TV, as a reaction to the success of the likes of Lovefilm.

According to Reuters, the Competition Commission said: “Sky Movies, which currently offers the first pay movies of all the big Hollywood studios, is not a sufficient driver of subscribers’ choice of pay-TV provider to give Sky such an advantage over its rivals when competing for pay-TV subscribers as to harm competition.”

Pay TV rivals BT and Virgin indicated that they were disappointed with the decision, however.

BT commented: “Consumers will rightly feel aggrieved that the CC has not taken action when it could have.”

Lovefilm and Netflix, however, will doubtless continue to attract customers with their low pricing in comparison to Sky.

Sky’s Now TV is pitched at a much higher £15 per month for unlimited access to films (well, access to 600), but it hopes said movie exclusives will be the draw for punters to sign up – or pay a one-off fee to watch.


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