Planned digital satellite service Real Digital will this Friday hear whether it can be granted access to Sky Sports 1 and 2 as have terrestrial providers BT and Top Up TV under Ofcom’s Wholesale Must Offer.
Real Digital is looking to take advantage of the approximate 200 free-to-air channels that broadcast to the UK from 28.2 degrees East. In a statement Real Digital said its service would include a new seven-day EPG and a ‘secure encryption system’.
It is the latter point that will come into particular focus, Sky having previously expressed reservations about the Nagravision system used terrestrially by Top Up TV before its security was upgraded. Any encryption system used by Real Digital would need to be vetted by the satcaster on behalf of its rights holders.
Real Digital’s David Henry is no stranger to the Competition Commission Appeals Tribunal, having previously unsuccessfully argued on behalf of Rapture TV that smaller channels should pay lesser charges to BSkyB than more established broadcasters. Henry also ran the soft porn channel After 12 in the mid-1990s.
In addition to Henry, the venture is also backed by Fred Perkins, the CEO and founder of Information TV and Showcase TV.
Freesat has already expressed an interest in offering the Sky Sports channels to its installed base.