BSkyB is to face an Ofcom investigation over claims that it withheld its Sky Sports channels from BT’s YouView service while offering them to rivals.
BT made a complain to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom that BSkyB had acted in an ”unreasonable and discriminatory” manner during negotiations over the provision of Sky Sports channels to BT’s implementation of YouView. BSkyB allegedly refused BT access to the channels unless it agreed to offer its own BT Sports channel to Sky to incorporate into Sky’s package of sports channels rather than as an independent add-on channel.
To compound the insult, BSkyB offered TalkTalk the channels for its version of YouView with no restrictions. BT therefore appealed to Ofcom, which has agreed to investigate if BSkyB is ”abusing its dominance” under competition law.
In a statement, BT explained is decision to involve Ofcom “This is because they have refused to provide Sky Sports 1 and 2 to BT on YouView on fair terms whilst providing them to other pay TV retailers such as TalkTalk. While we are continuing to try to resolve this through commercial negotiations, we have asked Ofcom to take urgent action against Sky in the meantime. We are hopeful that Ofcom will deliver an outcome that would be in the best interests of consumers.”
Graham McWilliam, BSkyB’s group director of corporate affairs, countered, “[...]BT has remained intent on a one-way deal which is loaded in its favour. This is not something that we – or anyone else – could reasonably have been expected to agree to.”