James Murdoch has expressed disappointment at regulatory delays holding back the launch of Sky’s DTT package Picnic.
In an investment call following Friday’s first quarter results, the Sky CEO admitted he had no idea as to when Picnic would make its debut. “We think it’s a really exciting product, bringing some of the most popular pay-TV channels to DTT distribution will really improve the range and quality of content and viewers on the platform and viewers in Freeview homes would really benefit from that,” said Murdoch. “It’s frustrating that the regulatory process is delaying this and the real losers are the customers who will really respond well to the improved choice and increased value that Picnic can offer.”
Picnic would combine Sky’s broadband and telephony services with a mini bouquet of channels drawing on Sky Sports, Sky Movies and Sky One. In order to achieve this it has asked Ofcom to allow it to replace its current three-channel FTA Freeview line-up.
“The motivations of those calling on Ofcom to prevent us launching this service are entirely transparent. It’s the same four that are behind what triggered the pay-TV investigation.”
Murdoch said Sky was engaged with the regulator to bring the product to market as quickly as possible.