Real Digital has won its fight to be included in Ofcom’s wholesale must offer (WMO) obligation for the carriage of Sky Sports 1 and 2. Real plans to launch an alternative digital satellite TV service in late January 2011 offering carriage to channels already using the 28 degrees East position.
BSkyB is already obliged to offer the channels to Virgin Media, Top Up TV and BT Vision under the terms of the Tribunal’s April ruling and Justice Baring described the application from Real Digital managing director David Henry as being “Me Too!”
The three established companies have agreed to pay the difference between Ofcom’s £10.63 (€11.90) for single channels and £17.14 for the two channel bundle, against BSkyB’s desired remuneration into an Escrow account.
Despite the decision in its favour there remain a number of hurdles that Real Digital will have to cross, not least any “minimum qualifying criteria” (MQC) stipulated by BSkyB. James Flynn QC on behalf of BSkyB said it had concerns as to the security and encryption of the Real platform, the financial standing of the company and the nature of the proposed service. It would also have to be assured that the Sky brand would be protected in its promotion of Sky Sports 1 and 2.
Asked by Broadband TV News as to which CA had been selected, Real said it was unable to disclose the details but said it was “regarded as one of the best available”. Sky says that Real Digital is unlikely to meet the terms of any MQC it lays down. Any dispute as to the reasonableness of requests made by Sky will have to be decided upon by Ofcom.
Representing himself, Real Digital managing director David Henry agreed to the same conditions as the established platforms, and acknowledged that the granting of the order would not necessarily lead to the granting of carriage for the channels.