Following provisional findings in May, the UK’s Competition Commission has confirmed that News Corp-controlled Sky does not have a material advantage over its rivals in the first window pay-TV arena. Sky’s position in relation to the acquisition and distribution of movies in that window “does not adversely affect competition,” the org said. Sky has first-window rights to films from all of the Hollywood majors, but the Commission’s Laura Carstensen, who chaired the inquiry, said that is not what’s driving subscribers’ choice of pay-TV provider.
The findings come after UK regulator Ofcom charged the Commission to start a probe into premium pay-TV movie rights back in 2010. After the provisional findings were released in May there was blowback from rival providers including Virgin Media which disputed the Commission’s report. Today’s report coupled with the one in May represent a reversal of the Commission’s original stance in August of last year when it found that Sky’s deals with the Hollywood majors were anti-competitive. (more…)