Market investigation into the UK pay TV industry
Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

UK communications regulator Ofcom says it has received a submission from BT, Setanta, Top Up TV, and Virgin Media, which asks it to investigate the pay TV industry and to consider whether to make a market reference to the Competition Commission under the Enterprise Act 2002. Pay TV includes subscription and video-on-demand television services on all platforms: cable, digital terrestrial television (DTT), satellite and TV over DSL.

After careful consideration, Ofcom has announced that it will investigate the pay TV market, including obtaining information from market participants. Following this assessment Ofcom will decide whether to make a market
reference to the Competition Commission. Ofcom will also consider whether any concerns would be better addressed using sectoral powers or the Competition Act 1998.

Consumer groups including the Ofcom Consumer Panel and the National Consumer Council have also expressed concerns to Ofcom about one aspect of the pay TV market: the loss of BSkyB channels on Virgin Media’s pay TV platform. Separately, BSkyB has announced a proposal to launch a new pay TV service on the DTT platform, based on new set-top box specifications. On receipt of a licence application, Ofcom would consult on whether to approve the licence
variations needed for such a service. In the meantime, the implications of the possible entry of BSkyB into the pay DTT market, including impact on consumers and emerging competition, will be part of the market investigation.

(Source: Ofcom)