BSkyB could be required to provide customer access to its Anytime+ pull VOD movies to any qualifying over-the-top movie service, the Competition Commission has proposed. A second new remedy, issued as part of the Commission’s Movies on pay-TV market investigation, would force Sky to reveal the expiry dates of its key movie contracts.
The move to open up Sky Movies subscription video on demand is designed to allow OTT movie service providers to compete more effectively with Sky Movies itself. They would be able to have direct access to the Sky Anytime+ customer base, to who they could then directly market their own product.
Sky would no doubt raise concerns about the security levels maintained by the new OTT entrants.
In its provisional findings the Commission said a new SVOD service would not face the same barriers to entry as a new linear movie channel, but recognized it would have the same principal barrier of Sky’s incumbency and 10 million pay-TV subscribers.
“We said that being able to attract enough subscribers sufficiently quickly to be able to justify paying a price for the SVOD rights greater than Sky would represent a significant challenge and risk for any potential bidder for these rights,” the Commission said in a statement.
The requirement for Sky to reveal exactly when its six key movie contracts comes from concerns put forward as part of the Commission’s earlier consultation that there was currency a lack of transparency that prevented engagement with the studios on a timely basis.
Commenting on developments, Andrew Glasspool, Farncombe manager partner and co-founder, said:
“The primary security issues lie more with the nature of the receiving devices than the OTT entrants themselves. For devices that are not controlled by a pay-TV operator, the problem is that the operator has no way to validate their security, either when they are initially deployed or when a security breach occurs.
Obviously, the security environments for broadcast and VoD are different – the broadcast signal is available to everyone, whereas an on-demand stream is one-to-one – but you still have to enforce the same constraints on the premium content once it has been received – i.e. that it should be protected in the way that the original rights-owners stipulate. For HD content, for instance, that entails that the receiving device should have a secure ‘root of trust’ – which means the operator knows it is the device it thinks it is – and must obey all the relevant HD content protection requirements.
Also, someone has to be able to demonstrate to the rights-holders that security breaches can be detected when they happen, and that there is some way of responding to them – for instance, by disabling the device or revoking the content rights it has been given.”
Farncombe is a leading provider of specialist consultancy, software engineering and testing services to the global TV industry.