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Tuesday, 11 January, 2000, 15:01 GMT
BSkyB faces pay TV probe

bskyb


Competition watchdogs are to hold an investigation into BSkyB's position in pay television.

The Office of Fair Trading wants to look into whether BSkyB has a dominant position in the industry.

It said the decision was prompted by consolidation in the cable industry and the launch of digital TV.

It also stems from the promise of a further inquiry made at the conclusion of a 1999 OFT review of BSkyB's position within the wholesale television market - that between broadcasters and TV channel providers.

At that time, BSkyB gave informal undertakings to meet competition concerns.

'Minimum regulation'

BSkyB, 40% of which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, welcomed the review, saying it hoped the review would result in the removal of "outdated rules and unnecessary burden on BSkyB".

John Bridgeman, Director General of Fair Trading, said the TV industry was rapidly evolving.

"We have to be sure that competition is healthy and responsive to developments," he said.

"Our approach is from the perspective that regulation should be kept to the minimum necessary to promote competition.

"We will be consulting widely with the aim of establishing the appropriate level of regulation."

BSkyB supplies satellite television programme services to viewers in Britain and allows cable television operators the right to receive BSkyB channels from satellites for onward transmission to viewers.

Cable television company Cable & Wireless Communications also welcomed the review and said it hoped it would lead to tighter controls on BSkyB.

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See also:
29 Jul 99 |  The Economy
Paying the game
24 Nov 99 |  Business
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03 Nov 99 |  The Company File
Murdoch denies 1bn football rights bid

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