Satellite broadcaster Sky’s strong position in the pay-TV movie market “does not adversely affect competition”, the UK’s Competition Commission (CC) ruled today.
Sky Movies currently offers UK viewers the first pay movies of all six major Hollywood studios. However, the regulator’s final report on the matter, which upholds its provisional findings announced in May, states that Sky Movies is not a sufficient driver of subscribers’ choice of pay-TV provider to give Sky such an advantage over its rivals when competing for pay-TV subscribers as to harm competition.
Instead, the CC has found that more consumers attach importance to other service attributes, such as price and access to a broad range of content, than to seeing recent movie content. Additionally, the way people are watching movies is changing and these changes have been reflected in new services becoming available. In recent years new and improved movie services in the pay-TV market have emerged from providers such as Netflix and LOVEFiLM, providing consumers with other alternatives.
The CC also noted that the recent launch of Sky Movies on Now TV gives consumers the choice of subscribing to Sky Movies separately, without the need to take any other pay-TV content or subscribe to Sky’s satellite platform.
Laura Carstensen, chairman of the Competition Commission inquiry group, commented that while competition in the pay-TV retail market overall remains ineffective, there have been significant changes in pay-TV movie services and consumers now have a much greater choice than they had a couple of years ago, when the investigation was first launched.
Sky welcomed the CC report and said that there is “overwhelming evidence that UK consumers are well served by strong competition between a growing number of TV providers, including those offering movies.”