ofcomOfcom is to consult on its plans to give Sky’s proposed pay TV service, Picnic, conditional approval.
In a 111 page report, the regulator outlined a range of concerns over the service, ranging from Sky’s participation in the Freeview consortium to its “market power” in the provision of “core premium” content such as live sport and movie premieres. It said, however, that preventing Sky from launching new services on digital terrestrial television would be “highly interventionist” and that unless it were “convinced that such action is necessary and proportionate” it would be “wary” of blocking Picnic entirely.

In a separate but related report on the UK’s entire pay TV market, Ofcom said that it may force Sky to make “core premium” content more widely available on a cheaper wholesale basis to other retailers because it has “market power” and “an incentive to limit the distribution of this content to competitors in a manner that favours its own satellite platform”.
One of Ofcom’s proposed remedies for Picnic is to insist that a “wholesale must-offer” obligation, whereby the content of Sky’s premium channels – which at the launch of the service would consist of Sky Sports 1 and a Sky Movies channel – would be offered to competitors.

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By Expat