back to article Sky plays the victim over Ofcom pay TV rights probe

Sky has complained to Ofcom that a probe of its dominance of UK pay TV is too one-sided, ahead of a decision that could see the market for football and movie rights opened up to more competition. The communications watchdog is due to publish all submissions to its pay TV market consultation next week, but the Financial Times …

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  1. Nev Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "Infamy! Infamy! they've all got it in for me!"

    Sky bitching about stuff like this is soooo funny.

  2. Mike

    And this benefits the consumer how?

    Unless they force Murdoch.TV to drop their prices significantly for their "premium" channels, I don't see how this is going to benefit us.

    There are already signs with Setanta that it'll just cost us more (to watch the Premiership you now need to pay for Sky AND Setanta).

    If they split it 4 or 5 ways, I can't see how it would be done cheaper; you've got 4-5 times the staff to pay for the same (or if we're lucky, marginally more) content so it'll just be more snouts in the trough at our expense, no doubt padded out with more inane rubbish that has made Satellite the 200-channel wasteland that it is now.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. A J Stiles
    Stop

    Simple Solution

    There's a simple solution to all of this:

    Put an end to exclusivity deals in broadcasting rights.

    Just because Sky have paid to broadcast a sporting event, shouldn't prevent anyone else from doing so.

    Then let the customer decide whose coverage they want to watch.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Burden of proof....

    If Sky's competitors need proof of their monopoly just point them in Virgins direction....

    IIRC Sky had a deal sown up with VM over Bravo et al and Sky then proceeded to hike Sky One to an astronomical figure...... Or one that forbade distribution of HD content.

    Either way I think Sky are most definitly abusing their status as a prime HD and Content distributer and as such levies should be made against them.

    Not that there's much on sky I don't get from 'tinternet or VM

  6. Steven
    Unhappy

    Bring back the Sky Monopoly days!

    Darn anoying, if you want all the football you now have to pay more. Not because Sky's prices are too high, but because you have to have Sky Sports AND Setanta which costs an extra tenner a month. If they split it even more your going to end up having to pay for about 4 or 5 subscriptions to watch the whole season.

  7. Dan Watson

    Splitting content between providers will harm, not help, consumers.

    Last season, I paid £35 p/m for Sports plus £50 for full year's access to Sky's Prem Plus.

    this year, its £35.00 for Sky Sports and £10.00 per month extra, plus £15.00 connection fee for Setanta's Premiership games.

    That's an INCREASE of £85.00 per year for Premiership football in the UK on last year.

    The only people who benefit are the Chiefs at the FA!

    The consumer pays extra regardless. Now if EVERY channel was allow FULL access to Premiership games, rather than some getting exclusive access and the consumer can CHOOSE which channel they watch their matches (I would choose Sky over Setanta anyday) then that might benefit the consumer.

    Sky and Setanta have DIFFERENT games therefore there is still no competition.

  8. AC
    Stop

    After the saltana debacle

    I hope Sky win this, I now not only pay extra for less football from Sky {heaven forbid prices should remain frozen for any length of time} BUT also have to pay more for saltana.

    Couple this with the fact that the saltana PMB {pre and post match bull...} is absolute crap compared to the amazing Sky team then I say that I have totally lost out to this "competition" shit.

    Let Sky have their monopoly, they do a great job with the football and lets be honest, who gives a crap about movies anyway? Antyhing that's worth watching will have already been covered by our mate aXXo.

    ps - can we get an icon like the stop one that says "FUCK OFF" please :D

  9. richard tanswell
    Stop

    ...And who said there was less interference with TV these days?

    OK so I know Sky do charge the earth to their subscribers. I'm paying £60 a month so that I can watch the football and my missus can watch something else in another room while I watch the football. Except, last season I could watch many more matches and even more with the Sky Season Ticket which I got for an extra £40 a season. Now I have to pay for my Sky subscription for Sky Sports and get a rougher deal on the matches and if I want more, pay Setanta £12 a month for the few matches I want to watch! In total that's about a fifth of my monthly repayment mortgage for both!

    So ditch Sky and go to Virgin I hear you cry where they include Setanta and Sky Sports...but I want to watch Lost and other Sky One programs...oh yeah they don't have that on Virgin!

    Before Ofcom stepped in, I was very happy thank you. Yes it could have been cheaper but surely a watchdog should help you get what you want at a lower cost? No it just means you pay more providers for what you actually want. They won't make you have different ISP's to access different content on the web so why are they interfering with my TV demands!!

    With this government pushing up costs but not wages, Football is one of my only vices I can afford but even now I'm being pushed out by them! Maybe we should start charging the government for watching us on their CCTV and make sure that they can only access certain cameras through different providers! Sounds like a plan? I'm starting the revolt, please, do join me!

  10. goggyturk
    Happy

    Even simpler solution...

    ...just head down to the pub to watch the football. Beer, footie and mates, plus the satisfaction of knowing that Sky can't survive by ripping off the pub trade.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    oh poor poor sky! its a shame for them.. really is!

    But aside from its crying, don't we have monopoly laws in this country?

    Its seems everywhere you look there is one monopoly or another completely dominating British markets.

    You have Sky with the satellite Market.

    You have Virgin with the Cable Market

    You Have BT with the phone Market.

    And its not like it limited to just technology firms either, we get screwed everywhere we go.

  12. richard tanswell
    Thumb Down

    Pub

    Except the pub is also being overcharged to get the football on. Their subscriptions are massive which is forcing them to force it onto the customers through food and booze prices (in addition to the government's tax rises!) So it's a simpler solution, but more costly!

  13. Mark Bowen
    Happy

    Blimey

    I think this is the first time on the Register that I've agreed with every single comment preceeding mine! :-)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Why watch football anyway?

    Never really understood why people enjoy watching 22 people chase a modern version of a pigs bladder around for 90 minutes. Even more confusing is that people appear to be willing (or at least do) pay over £500 a year for the 'pleasure'.

  15. richard tanswell
    Happy

    @ Anonymous Coward

    Agreed football is not to all tastes but then sitting at a computer all day every day answering every Register forum several times is not my idea of fun either so horses for courses! In the nicest possible way of course! :-)

  16. Paul Swindlehurst
    Stop

    Competition my arse

    All that the anti-competition crap did to football coverage was make it cost more, for a lot less. We may have a couple of extra matches a season on telly now, but half of them are only in SD (and bloody poor SD at that), and have sultana's shite commentators/pundits around it. And don't forget ITV's awful champions league coverage, it's like watching lego men kick a sugar cube around.

    I'm all for competition watchdogs trying to make things better, but they should always take into account how much the end user is going to have to pay, and that the quality of service they will be provided is equal or better. I personally don't think that any broadcaster who is not capable of providing an HD broadcast of a sporting event should be able to bid on it, never mind win it.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Re. Why watch football anyway?

    Never understood why people enjoy [insert your interest here]. Even more confusing is that people appear to be willing (or at least do) pay over [insert the cost of your interest here] for the 'pleasure'.

    An intelligent and compelling point you make there, AC...

  18. Michael Law
    Coat

    Im with AC

    If you want to watch football dont complain about having to pay for it. If you want to see YOUR team why not go to the match in PERSON! Also follow them to away games. It may even be cheaper than watching it on Sky.

    Appart for the Man U fans .. 200 miles is abit much from London to Manchester :)

    Mine is the one with 'no football shirts' on the back.

  19. paul
    Dead Vulture

    people moaning about Satanta / sultana / whatever its called

    There are NEW football matches.

    AFAIK sky continue to show the same amount of games. Just some new ones are on the sultana.

  20. Codge
    Paris Hilton

    Simpler solution?

    Hmmm....

    Three quid a pint X at least four pints at the pub. Times four or five weekends, plus midweek games!

    Who's laughing loudest, Sky or the Landlord?

    Paris, coz she knows what side her bread is buttered...

  21. Squits

    Problem is

    That if it gets split as already discussed, how the hell can we watch stuff on both terrestrial, Sky, Setanta AND Virgin? If you're not in a cabled area you can't watch certain games.

    I already bitch and complain because I don't have sky sports, so i have to go to the pub, now if it gets split to Virgin as well I simply won't be able to watch certain matches at all.

    Down with this kind of thing.

    Easy now.

  22. Jon Brunson

    Kill exclusivity deals!

    I agree with A J Stiles - put an end to exclusivity deals in broadcasting rights.

    It's not like Sky/BBC/ITV cameras record the games, would it really be so bad to send those video signals to multiple broadcasters at the same time? No monopoloy, no need for multiple subscriptions, no worries! Personally I'd watch "a modern version of a pigs bladder around for 90 minutes" on BCC HD (thanks freesat) just to skip all the adverst & get my TV Licence's worth!

    Which reminds me, if you're paying ~£500pa for Sky & Sanata, rememeber to add you TV Licence - £660+ to watch sports on TV? Owch...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sky = less costs more

    Sky showed less Premiership games this season but didn't reduce the subscription. Instead they included Championship games. Great.

    Your best bet is too tune in to one of the foreign or US channels on the net to pickup live coverage of premiership games. Or find a dodgy pub showing the games from these channels.

  24. Justin
    Thumb Up

    End Exclusivity

    Those who've said end exclusive rights, all I can say is here, here. That is the only way to make the market truly competitive and drive up the quality of the presentation. Sky's Pundits really aren't that much better than Setanta's, Jamie Redknapp, FFS, get a suit that actually fits you. The most important to me is the commentary, I use the pre, half and post match times to refill my beer.

    I have watched the ESPN presentation in asia, it suffices, after all its the football you're interested in not the endless drivel and speculation around it.

  25. richard tanswell
    Stop

    Going to a match cheaper?

    Michael do you support an under 5s team because certainly Premiership and even Championship grounds charge a lot more than a Sky subscription per year when you include travel, burgers, beers, pies etc. And some of us just like to watch other teams play. For example if you're a Man Utd fan, you want to watch Chelsea vs Liverpool etc. So are you saying we should physically go to those games too? I don't think the capacity is there! Which is why Sky et al can charge what they do, they know people will pay for it. Which is why Ofcom should step in and do what's best for consumers. Sometimes lower price is not always best for the consumer, if as in this instance, some of your choice is removed (in this instance with no reduction in price).

    I'm sure if I made a comment about how dull/boring/crap online gaming was, there'd be uproar and I'd be banished from the world wide web!

  26. Olly

    and why do people continue to get Sky?

    It's simple, freeview has nothing but shopping channels and the odd documentary channel, nothing to watch unless you like watching back to back documentaries on the war. NTL/Virgin was just plain awful, I was with NTL when they were cable and wireless. The analogue box was pretty good, the digital boxes were progressively hobbled by continuous upgrades that saw them go from just about fast enough to be so slow as to require gaps in button pushes in order to let it catch up, plus the fact that after 4 years the digital text was still classed as "Coming soon". I would have been quite happy to stay with them until the killed their own technology with bloatware and required twice daily resets.

    Then, what else is there, sure there is a lot of junk on sky but you need some to be junk to appreciate the good stuff :)

    ...and as has been said already you only have to cough up once, I wanted to get NASN to watch NFL and NHL at one point, phoned the number and was asked for £25 a month. LOL no thx.

  27. shane fitzgerald
    Thumb Down

    Sky

    ...you pay to subscribe - they still show ads every 15 minutes. I had it for 12 months. Got rid of it. Complete rubbish.

  28. Robert Long
    Flame

    No Representation Without Taxation!

    Murdoch can start paying his taxes; until then I don't give a fuck what he thinks about how anything is run in this country.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. A J Stiles
    Happy

    @ shane fitzgerald

    The solution is to change channels in time for the start of the programme, do something else for ten minutes or so, then rewind to the beginning. Now, since you're behind "live" transmission, you can simply fast-forward through the advert breaks!

    If another programme you want to watch will start on a different channel before you're done watching the current one, just bring up the now and next bar and program it to start recording the next programme; then just go straight to it in the planner.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ooFie

    Welcome to the Ofcom brewery.

    In other circles its called rip-off Britain.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Setanta has been shit this season..

    .. and this has been the worst ever but most expensive coverage of the premier league as a result.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Go tell it to Ballmer !

    Sounds just like the bleatings from Microsoft that they are a really nice company that don't engage in monopolistic behaviour.

    I pay my licence fee I'll be damned if I'm giving any more to that shyster and flywheel operation; why do you employ hackers Rupert (what a camp name) ?

    If you don't like it Murdoch we have a nice ship waiting to take you round the Horn and back to Botany Bay.

    Bon Voyage

  34. Paul

    Original split in football down to europe not ofcom

    Those people blaming ofcom for having to pay extra to get the games on setanta are barking up the wrong tree as it was the european commission competition bods that finally forced the FA to have a 'not completely rigged in skys favour' auction.

    As to sky one its interesting to note that people say 'Lost and stuff' as it appears that Lost has just about become sky ones only selling point. We are on VM but with only 1 show worth watching on sky one we have a relative with sky record it to DVD so don't really miss sky one at all.

  35. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    I believe the problem is ...

    that Sky does so much. They generate their own content, they run the transmission system, they control the receivers, and they control the EPG. For anyone else to get in on the satellite market, they effectively have to start their own network (loads of dosh) or pay whatever Sky writes on their blank cheque ! And of course, if Sky doesn't like the competition, they can just not accept a channel for it's EPG.

    The solution proposed, and which I agree with, would be to force Sky to :

    a) use open standards so that they don't have monopoly control of hardware supply to their subscribers - thus allowing innovation in receivers.

    b) separate the transmission from the production side.

    c) offer access to the platform to anyone on equal terms - and that includes it's own channels which will now come from an independent company and NOT the company that runs the transmission system.

    However, that's possibly a bit late now, the time to be doing that was years ago when it was first discussed and (as usual) our watchdog simply rolled over and let Sky tickle it's tummy. Now that freesat has launched, give it a while and we'll start seeing some commercial services on it once people have got 'open' boxes - many of the boxes coming soon will have CAM slots so they will be capable of decoding paid-for transmissions, but that will be the users choice and they will not have a base subscription to pay first.

  36. A J Stiles
    Unhappy

    Makes me wonder why

    It makes me wonder why a card reader wasn't made mandatory for all digital terrestrial TV receivers in the UK, when the decision was first made to transition from analogue (PAL) to digital (DVB-T) broadcasting -- surely the biggest change in television broadcasting since the transition from 405 lines to 625 lines. This could have been used to enforce the TV licence without the need for bully-boy tactics -- no card, no picture.

  37. Steven Snape
    Stop

    Maybe SKY deserve their postion???

    Think back to the days before Sky. What were we getting in terms of sport and movies?? Indoor bowls, Darts and repeats of James Bond and Superman. The BBC and ITV would not spend any decent money on sport or movies. This is why people bought into SKY, Dont punish Sky for their own success, That would be lame!!

    Sky is an opt in service for consumers and surely football on free TV is not a human right!

    BTW I personally hate football :)

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