Ofcom is to launch an investigation into the UK pay-TV market after a joint submission from BT, Setanta, Top Up TV, and Virgin Media. The wide-ranging investigation is likely to centre on BSkyB, which operates both a pay-TV platform and major premium channels. However, Ofcom says that this is not an investigation into one operator, but the entire pay-TV market.
Questions have been raised by a number of consumer groups, including Ofcom’s own consumer panel, following the recent carriage fee dispute between BSkyB and Virgin Media.
The investigation will consider whether reference should be made to the Competition Commission if concerns would be better addressed through either individually by the media regulator powers or the Competition Act.
Separately, Ofcom is considering BSkyB’s recent request to launch a pay-TV service in place of its current free to air DTT channels, amid calls from some quarters that BSkyB should be thrown out of the Freeview consortium.
Ofcom has already been asked by the government to investigate BSkyB’s 17.9% stake in ITV. (JC)