A leading Hollywood studio has described the Competition Commission’s provisional findings into movies on pay-TV as being “deeply flawed”. In documents published by the Commission, Paramount Pictures says the findings understate the ongoing effect of changes in the market.
“The approach to market analysis is wrong. The CC has failed to look at the supply of movies, the way consumers consume movies and the benefits of the current window structure to consumers. Instead, it has focussed on competition between a subset of distributors and risks protecting or promoting weak competitors in place of remedying any consumer detriment identified.”
Paramount says the Commission has failed to provide evidence that Sky’s pay-TV competitors have attempted to acquire first pay TV subscription window (FSPTW) movie content through any other basis than wholesale.
Virgin Media, which recently reached agreement with Sky for the carriage of Sky Anytime content on the cable platform was fully consistent with current market conditions. “For its most popular package …Virgin Media is unable to set an incremental retail price which either covers its cable ratecard price, or matches Sky’s incremental retail prices,” the cablenet said in its submission.
It says the Commission needs to make a timely decision, because with varying lengths to current Sky contracts it will take some time before the effects of any ruling is felt.
Under the proposals put forward by the Commission in August Sky could face a limit on the number of exclusive movie rights it is allowed to hold from the major Hollywood studios. “Must retail” measures requiring it to acquire on a wholesale basis and offer to its subscribers any movie channel containing FSPTW may also be put in place.