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BBC, ITV and Channel 4: ‘Sky should pay to carry our channels’

The BBC says Sky should scrap its programme guide fees or even pay the Beeb because its channels bring more value to the pay-TV service as they get out of being on it.

The publicly-funded broadcaster – along with ITV and Channel 4 – has rejected Sky’s claims that Sky Guide fees of £6m/year are just another bill, like electricity.

House of Commons Communications select committee chairman John Whittingdale, a Conservative MP, picked up the Sky argument last week with the BBC’s John Tate.

BBC, ITV and Channel 4: ‘Sky should pay to carry our channels’
Should Sky pay the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 for their channels?

TV industry magazine Broadcast (paywall) reports that Tate said that Sky should carry the BBC and other free channels for nothing, or even pay for the privilege.

“The licence fee-payer should not have to pay twice for the carriage of content,” he said, backed by similar comments from ITV and Channel 4 representatives. 

“At the minimum, we think a zero-pay regime would be a fair outcome. Sky’s ability to offer the BBC channels is hugely important to its business and it should pay for the carriage.”

Culture minister Ed Vaizey recently said he favours a free ride for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, although Sky has cut its EPG charges by around 40 per cent a year since 2010.

Sky earned £10m for listing the BBC’s channels in 2010, with BBC One guaranteed the 101 slot, which stands at £6m this year and will fall to £4.4m in 2014. ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 pay smaller fees, totalling about £15.6m in 2013.

Sky director of policy Adam Kinsley said: “While it is beneficial for a platform to carry any channel, there are also huge benefits to channels to being on a platform which is in 11 million homes.”

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