This would give them much greater control over customers and would not be good for the market
(PRWEB) March 22, 2007
Companies such as BT and Tiscali must move quickly if they are to fight Sky's dominance in the digital terrestrial television (DTT) market says Chris Eagle, http://www.DigitalChoices.co.uk Commercial Manager.
He said that the plans announced by Sky to develop a new set of paid-for channels on the DTT would "damage competition and allow Sky to plug their own programmes ahead of others on the Freeview platform".
The digital TV giant wants to remove its current Freeview channels Sky News, Sky Sports News and Sky 3 and replace them with four subscription channels but it has not yet said how it plans to charge customers - perhaps in a similar way to Top-Up-TV where customers could pay for individual channels or programmes. However, it is known that customers would have to get new Sky set-top boxes to watch them.
Sky wants to expand its viewer base after losing Virgin Media, and so is trying to gain control of the gap between paid-for digital television and Freeview.
Mr Eagle said: "Once Sky had distributed its own set-top boxes with Sky Plus it would control the digital programme guide and would be able to promote Sky programmes in a way that other content providers could not.
"This would give them much greater control over customers and would not be good for the market," he added.
This latest fracas at Sky comes only a fortnight after Virgin Media threatened to sue them for anti-competitive behaviour in the row over costs that eventually cost customers their basic Sky channels.
Ofcom said that it would wait to determine if the removal of Sky's free channels would "unacceptably diminish the appeal" of Freeview before referring the issue to the competition authorities.
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Chris Eagle - 020 7815 0553