Page last updated at 19:22 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 20:22 UK

BSkyB agrees deal to let rivals use its sports content

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BSkyB says it will still continue with appeal against Ofcom

BSkyB has agreed an interim deal with regulator Ofcom that will allow rivals access to its prized sports channels.

Ofcom had previously ruled that the satellite broadcaster offer its premium sports content at a reduced rate.

But under the interim deal, rivals will pay the full rate - but with some money put into an escrow account pending an appeal by BSkyB against Ofcom's ruling.

Meanwhile, BSkyB announced that pre-tax profits were £707m for the nine months to March, up from £339m last time.

The provisional agreement means that from May 14 Virgin Media, BT, and Top-up TV will have access to Sky Sports 1 and 2.

The companies will pay between 10% and 23% below the price that Virgin, BSkyB's only wholesale customer, pays at the moment.

If BSkyB wins its appeal the escrow money will be awarded to the satellite broadcaster. If it loses, the rivals will get it.

Appeal continues

A BSkyB spokesman said: "We are pleased to have been able to put forward an agreement which provides substantial protection against the short-term impacts of Ofcom's decision.

"We remain fully focused on our substantive appeal, which will be filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal in due course," he said.

BT said it was "delighted" to be able to broadcaster Sky Sports content in time for the new football season in August.

High definition TV

Meanwhile, BSkyB said that its rise in profits was boosted by some 428,000 new high definition TV subscribers who signed up between January and March.

Average revenue per user exceeded £500 for the first time, £51 higher than a year earlier.

UBS analyst Polo Tang said the company was doing well in a competitive market. "BSkyB is not feeling the effects of any increased competition in either pay-TV or broadband," he said.

Overall, BSkyB said it had added a net 62,000 customers in the first three months of the year, meaning it now had a total of 9.77 million customers.

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New Media AgeBT to offer cut-price Sky Sports deals for next football season - 2 hrs ago
New StatesmanBSkyB reaches pay-TV agreement with Ofcom and competitors - 4 hrs ago
Brand Republic Compromise allows Sky rivals to offer sports channels pending appeal - 5 hrs ago
This is Money Rivals to get Sky's sports coverage this summer - 6 hrs ago
Times Online BSkyB reaches pact with Ofcom on football - 13 hrs ago
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