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back to article Sky Movies too expensive, says Competition Commission

Sky's movie business, enjoyed by a third of the households in Britain, may be devastated by a new competition ruling. The Competition Commission's investigation into the pay TV movie business has made a preliminary conclusion – and reckons punters are paying £50m to £60m more each year than they should. Ofcom had previously …

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Paris Hilton

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

Considering that Sky Movies shows Bernard Matthews' 25 finest turkeys in rotation over all the Sky Movies channels I'm surprised anybody watches them at all!

Also, where were the Competition Commission when Sky bought up and killed half off half of Virgin's output - admittedly mostly carp too but I miss Future Fighting Machines on Bravo...

Paris, as the Hottie and the Nottie is always being shown.

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Could this be

Rupe's annus horribilis?

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title.

If so, it's not a day too soon.

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Big Brother

No...

... it's about ten years too late.

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FAIL

Better late than never....

Well yesterday Ofcom finally caught up with Talk Talk / Tiscali after 10 years and fined them £3 Million. Must be the weather for it.

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untitled

What surprises me is that a third of the british households have subscribed to sky movies. The last time I checked sky movies doubles the subscription cost, and again I am surprised at this considering that TCM and Film 4 are free on the standard sky package. HD is also extra.

If UPC can ever get their act together and provide something that works all the time then sky will have some serious competition.

I'd much prefer something like Netflix anyway.

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I agree

I call BS on this too, perhaps they meant a third of sky customers have the movies package?

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

They mean a 3rd of Sky customers.

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Pirate

Oh for hevens sake....

will ofcom just keep out of it.... as soon as they start meddling its going to start costing us more money like it did with the football...

I used to subscribe to sky sports to watch all the premiership games, and before the season started I would buy a season ticket for all of the PPV games as a discounted £50 for advance purchases...

Ofcom got there claws into it and made it so that sky could not have exclusive rights to premiership football... the result was that If I wanted to watch all the premiership matches, i would have to subscribe to satanta as well as sky which was £10 a month, DOUBLING what I was paying for the PPV games....

now if they get the fingers into sky movies, are people going to have to subscribe to more movie channels owned by other companies, paying more money just so there is fair competition?

Sky invested a shit load of money and risk getting the platform for sky TV up and running, that risk paid off, and ofcom want to take it away...

personally, i agree they charge too much for the movie channels and its my choice to not subscribe,,, like its everyone else's choice to ether subscribe or not subscribe. If everyone though it was too expensive and didnt subscribe then the price would have to drop. The fact they do have subscribers that are happy to pay the subscriptions says the pricing is reasonable.

I probably spend the same as I would on a sky subscription on my "alternative" to sky movies subscriptions and get a better service as films are available on DVD before they are on sky movies anyway !!

drink up me hearties yo ho !

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Flame

Believe it was Europe

Believe it was Europe that caused this - Competition commission said we weren't getting a good deal as Sky could buy all the rights and forced the rights to be split up with Sky not able to bid on at least 1 package.

However I am with you on this one - The price doubled "with" competition, how bloody fair is that.

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Anonymous Coward

The problem here

There is no actual competition, each game is still a monopoly, you don't get a choice of which company provides you with a particular match. The same is true with privatizing rail - they said that the competition would lower prices etc, but it is still a monopoly as each route is controlled by a single franchise and you don't get the choice.

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Unhappy

re: The problem here

"The same is true with privatizing rail - they said that the competition would lower prices etc, but it is still a monopoly as each route is controlled by a single franchise and you don't get the choice."

You make a good point, but the even more sobering thought is that the franchisees effectively bid for the route, presumably with the highest bidder being successful. This ultimately means they have to charge higher prices than the loser to cover the exorbitant costs they paid to gain control of the route.

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Pint

regional franchises

regional franchises were also supposed to introduce competition into the cable market in the UK, although they weren't actually providing competition in any given area.

Anyone know how well that one ended up?

Why can't we have franchised/competing Royal Families or Armed Forces?

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Holmes

"Sky Movies too expensive"

No shit, Sherlock icon... enough said.

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@AC

Just watch less football.

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Pirate

(¯`·._.·(¯`·._.·(¯`·._.· TITLE ·._.·´¯)·._.·´¯)·._.·´¯)

why should I watch less football? I like football, I enjoy watching football no matter what teams are playing....

I just hate the fact that ofcoms messing about has cost me more money, the Idea of more competition is to reduce prices....

ofcom have yet again proven they do not have a clue about the needs of an end user of a service,

also there is plenty of alternatives to sky subscriptions for moves.... I have a good "on demand" service that costs less than a sky subscription...

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Anonymous Coward

Bundles are good

...except that if you do watch football the extra sub to add all movie channels is a lot lower.

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Megaphone

The problem is

There is no viable alternative. No decent streaming service etc

I had Lovefilm mainly for the games rentals but for film streaming it was crap - nothing worth watching on it.

I must admit I do like sky anytime for watching films - at least there is something on it to watch until a viable alternative is found.

Competition is key - I see a decent on-line streaming service to be the answer - it does not have to be full HD to be watchable.

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Pirate

yo ho !

there are plenty of alternatives to sky movies or other online streaming services.

you can download a movie (in HD) and have it on your HD TV in less than 20 min. if the movie is any good, go out and buy it.....

you should have said "there is no legally available viable alternative"

it may not be legal, but considering the shit they pump out and call it entertainment you have to decide who is robbing who first !!

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: yo ho !

Sky mention P2P in their submission to the Competition Commission. It's not a legal alternative, but it's most definitely an alternative, as we all know.

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Anonymous Coward

Need a new TV?

I just plug me telly in me router and press a little button on the remote...

OK, so it's only really MLB, AceTrax, IPlayer and a few others but it does OK for me.

Although quite why the TV manufacturer thinks I am sad enough not to have a real social life and shoves Tw@tter, Facebook and friends in my face every time my TV goes online is beyond me - I must get with the program and drop real life for a sad virtual-only existence someday.

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Happy

MythTV!

As per title.

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ssu

Competition commission/ofcom last time ended up costing the consumer more

I am all for cheaper prices but when they forced Sky to split the football rights you ended up having to pay a lot more a month to have Setanta's awful service as well. This was if you wanted to watch all broadcast football matches available. Now its ESPN and they don't offer enough for me to want to pay for it.

At least Sky seems to give the customer decent sound and picture quality broadcasts and a large selection of film channels to choose from and they have vaguely decent customer support.

For me Sky is the only option as I live on an unmade road and Virgin won't therefore install to my house - even though they keep sending me literature offering me a TV package. Freeview is not an option as there is no reception in the area.

Do the BBC, Virgin, BT etc even bother to bid anymore for sport and film rights?

Sky may be part owned by an evil empire but for me they do provide a nice TV package. I'd like it to be cheaper but very much doubt the consumer will do well out of these investigations.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm for value for money...

I'm not sure Sky or Ofcom serve this end. Most football on TV (HD or otherwise) is, at best, a waste of time and money. Unfortunately, until you've watched it you don't know it's been useless.

I don't subscribe to Sky and wont have it in the house.

If Ofcom actions do result in subscribers getting better VFM then I'm all for it however, as they're Civil Servants based in the South East, anything they come up with will be helpful for election influencing metroproles and have marginal benefit for most of the rest of the country.

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Terminator

Depends..

Its not to expensive for me as I already pay for Sports so adding the movies was about 3 quid a month. However you could then say that the Sports is to expensive to which I would agree.

I'm always a little torn in these kinda situations. Although yes I would like cheaper Sky, basically they are saying Sky are TO successful and thats killing the opposition. Err.. well isn't that kinda what business is about??

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Flame

Package pricing by s Sky is deliberate

They price their packages very deliberately and cleverly. (figures are not accurate just reflective)

Sky package + Movies is £50

Sky package + Sports is £50

Add Sports to movie package is £5

Add Movies to sports package is £5

Pricing in this way is a way of saying you've got this package why not for an extra £5 get the whole lot - it feels like a bargain when in fact it's nothing of the sort.

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killing the competition

it depends what you mean by "killing the competition". what ofcom is saying is sky is ripping off the consumer and acting in an anti-competitive way. (meanwhile in other news, bears shit in the woods and the pope is found to be a catholic.) sky were able to do this because (a) until this summer everyone was shit-scared of murdoch (b) sky 's domination of pay-tv means it could dictate terms to hollywood; (c) sky's parent company owns a major hollywood studio.

it's all very well having a dominant position if it's done fairly. but in this case we have yet another example of sky exploiting its satellite monopoly. this time it was to control movie rights, set prices and screw everyone else. just like they've done with most sport.

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Parting with cash

I find Sky Movies to be quite cheap, possibly because I don't subscribe. I choose to spend my time and money elsewhere.

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Movies subsidize the Footie

Sky have been overcharging Movies for years and using it to subsidize the cost for Sky Sports.

They got themselves into this situation in the first place by offering the FA huge sums over BBC/ITV and forcing joe punter to pay for the huge player wages we see today.

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I'm not a SKY viewer...

..and never would be, but I do think it's rich for an appointed commission of well-paid 'experts' to complain about a lack of competition in someone else's line of business! How come there's only one monopolies commission?

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Toothless ofcom

Where were ofcom when sky chased all the foreign providers kit from satellite shops? Sky's terms to dealers was, if you sell foreign boxes you could not sell Sky kit. As a result most of the uk believe that satellite tv IS sky.

I just wish the uk people would wake up and stop using sky. In less than a year all prices would suddenly become very affordable. Even sports.

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FreeSat

I've got some FreeSat boxes as well as Sky HD, and have bought them for various family members and recommended them to others. It's really rather good, not limited to foreign stations, and if you get a FreeSat HD box and plug it into the Internet it has iPlayer, ITVplayer, and other streaming services coming soon.

Also if you are someone who appreciates a higher quality picture, the FreeSat HD boxes output SD as 576i over HDMI in their 'Auto' output resolution setting which is usually very much better than the crappy 576p output (and horrible upscales 720p and 1080i) from Sky's range of STBs. Sky oh Sky oh Sky, why won't you let us have unprocessed 576i?

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Happy

RE "Where were ofcom when sky chased all the........."

Ah, but you see that was *before* Hackergate blew up in the Dirty Digger's face. That was when his friends within all sorts of organisations both public and private regarded keeping Rupert happy as a major priority. Suddenly, for some remarkable and mysterious reason, they all seem to have abandoned him - I cannot imagine why. Thoughts of rats and sinking ships come to mind.

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WTF?

@Oh for hevens sake.... #

Again I echo the "i'm not a sky viewer" point of view and actually think they too expensive BUT I 100% agree with your reasoning. Restricting what Sky can publish will only hurt the consumers that use the service.

I'm not interested in football but that whole sky/santana thing was just plain crazy.

I've seen your post downthumbed but havnt seen a single worthwhile counter argument although I am sure we going to get a lot more anti-Rupert bias. Not that I'm pro Murdock, but at least if you going to lambast him do it for a reason thats on topic and makes sense to the consumer.

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@Pah

"Restricting what Sky can publish will only hurt the consumers that use the service."

Looking at what the article reports the Commission said it *may* do, it would seem they are not talking about restricting what Sky can publish but reducing the number and type of _exclusive_ deals that Sky can make with providers. I've not read the whole report so this is (for now) based on quotes from the article.

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Facepalm

@Jim Booth

The reason that you couldn't find anything on Lovefilm that you wanted is because Sky has the exclusive rights for movies on subscription between about 6-9 months after theatrical release for the next 2-3 years! Lovefilm can only offer them on subscription VoD after that point.

Unless Ofcom does something there won't be an alternative to Sky.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: @Jim Booth

Ofcom passed it over to the CC. See last paragraph: UV is coming, and things can change fast.

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MJI
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Discount BluRays

I just look for them cheap and I get to keep them!

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Anonymous Coward

Didn't they say the same...

... about the price of CDs? And as a result the price went up!

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my experience with sky was good

I did not have the movie package. They called me after about 3 months and said i could have it free for 3 months to try it out. Then they offered it to me for a discount. Over the year it was therefore really quite cheap.

These days i rent quite a lot from iTunes. Since i generally only watch movies at weekends, a fiver or so for a couple of movies is like the olden days of renting videos.

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It's the cinema that's "too expensive"

I've just done a quick online price comparison. The Sky variety pack + Sky Movies is £35.50 a month. A family ticket to see a single movie at my local cinema is £25. If you've got a big tv & decent sound system at home, then Sky suddenly doesn't seem quite as bad value.

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MJI
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BluRays even cheaper

Don't watch films every night too much to do but £7 is 5 for £35 and you can get some decent ones for that.

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