Regulator Ofcom has announced that it’s begun a review which could see Sky forced to offer some of its Sky Sports channels to all pay TV broadcasters.
This means that Sky could be forced to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 – home to live Premier League football and Ashes cricket – on YouView-based BT TV boxes.
Currently you can only get Sky Sports 1 and 2 on Sky+HD, Virgin TV, TalkTalk TV, as well as through selected BT Vision+ boxes.
Recently the Court of Appeal overturned a ruling from the CAT (Competition Appeal Tribunal) which had previously ruled that Sky did not have to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 on a wholesale basis to rival pay TV platforms.
The CAT ruled in 2012 that a previous wholesale agreement enforced by Ofcom should be overturned. This previous ‘wholesale must offer’ ruling saw Virgin Media and BT able to sell Sky Sports channels.
Since then, BT Sport, which broadcasts a fraction of the Barclays Premier League football games and YouView, a hybrid terrestrial and broadband TV service, have launched. Both BT and TalkTalk have launched YouView-based TV services since the arrival of YouView.
BT currently only has the rights to show Sky Sports 1 and 2 on its BT Vision boxes, not it’s YouView-based boxes. TalkTalk TV, another YouView-based platform, sells access to Sky Sports channels as well as Sky Movies and Sky entertainment packages.
During this second review, Ofcom will take into account the nature of the pay-TV market as it stands now and how things have changed since its initial review in 2010.
A BT spokesperson said: ““This review is welcome. The WMO is an important tool given Sky’s dominance of the pay TV market and we hope it will result in appropriate obligations on Sky so that consumers can benefit.”
In addition to that, the Supreme Court is looking at another appeal from Sky, which seeks permission to appeal the Court of Appeal ruling from February this year.
Updated to add comment from BT.