Ofcom has started a review of Sky’s obligation to provide its flagship Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels to rival broadcasters.
In 2010 the media regulator ruled Sky must offer the channels at a discount to ensure customers could subscribe to other pay-TV providers without missing out on top sporting events.
That ruling was struck down in 2012 by the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) following an appeal by the satellite giant.
However the CAT’s ruling was itself overturned in February when the Court of Appeal confirmed Ofcom’s power to impose wholesale obligations on channel owners.
The Court of Appeal hearing had been brought by BT which has been unable to agree terms with Sky to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 to users of its YouView set top box. Instead, the company is forced to provide customers who subscribe to Sky Sports with its previous generation Vision+ box for which it does have a deal to carry the channels.
Sky has previously said it would be happy to wholesale the channels if BT agrees to wholesale its own sports channels rather than retail them directly to Sky’s customers.
Despite not agreeing terms with BT, Sky offers its sport channels to Virgin Media and TalkTalk and on a ‘day pass’ basis through its Now TV service.
These deals, and BT’s own investment in premium sporting rights, were reflected in Ofcom’s statement which noted there have been “a number of sector developments” which must considered as part of any review.
Ofcom confirmed it is still considering a separate complaint from BT which alleges that Sky has “abused a dominant position in relation to negotiations over the supply of Sky Sports 1 and 2 for BT’s YouView platform.”