YouView CEO Richard Halton has reacted angrily after Sky lodged a last minute complaint with Ofcom – just as the regulator was sitting down to decide whether to hold an investigation into the hybrid broadcast service.
“While we welcome justifiable scrutiny, the timing of this submission is clearly designed to extend the regulatory process in pursuit of commercial self interest rather than the public interest,” said Halton. “We encourage Ofcom to take this wider view as they continue their consideration.”
Sky has been playing down the timing of the submission, its regulatory section currently having a number of issues to deal with.
Ofcom executives had been expected to make its decision on whether to conduct its own inquiry into YouView, the former Project Canvas, public this week following a series of statements by the project’s opponents. Sky has been among the most vocal, but Virgin Media, and organisations representing local television, other rival broadcasters and technology companies have also voiced their concerns.
In May the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) concluded that the then Project Canvas did not qualify for investigation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act. The venture brings together the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel Five, BT, Talk Talk and Arqiva. The BBC’s regulatory body, the BBC Trust, gave its approval the following month.
Halton said YouView would create competition among TV platforms and increase the range and number of opportunities for content providers and device manufacturers.
Various dates have been reported as to when a statement may or may not be made, but Broadband TV News understands that no firm date had been set by Ofcom, other than an approximate six weeks following the complaint by Virgin.