Sky has been given a boost in the battle to retain its stranglehold over pay-TV movie rights, after subscription streaming services Netflix and LoveFilm were dragged into the Competition Commission's investigation of the sector.
Last August, the UK's competition regulator said that Sky's multi-million pound deals with the major Hollywood studios - including Warner Bros, Paramount, Sony and Disney - were throttling competition in the movies market and must be weakened to allow rivals to operate effectively.
The commission, which has been reviewing the pay-TV movies market since it was referred the task by Ofcom in 2010, said that it will now publish its final report in July, after opting to run further investigation of key changes in the digital movies market.
It noted that US media giant Netflix launched a subscription video on-demand (SVOD) movies streaming service in the UK and Ireland earlier in the year, while the Amazon-owned LoveFilm now offers a streaming-only SVOD service called LoveFilm Instant, alongside its DVD rentals service.
Netflix and LoveFilm have been able to acquire rights deals to certain "first subscription pay-TV window (FSPTW) movies" from various major movie and independent studios, while Sky will also soon launch a new internet TV service, which will offer content from Sky Movies and aim to attract pay-TV abstainers.
"We recognised in our provisional findings that, were developments in the market to occur, it would be necessary to take them into account before reaching our final views," said the commission in a statement today.
"We are considering their implications, alongside other evidence received since the provisional findings, both with regard to our assessment of whether there is an adverse effect on competition (AEC) and for any potential remedies."
I wish they'd have the sense to cast their net a bit wider than movies. Sly's monopolisaton of TV content is more of a problem. It's a bit like Tesco* signing an exclusive deal with Mars* and then charging a subscription to get in the shop to buy a Mars bar. I doubt if this would never be allowed, so why is television an exception? Of course it would also never happen, as Mars would almost certainly see their sales figures fall.
*Other supermarkets and choclatey treats are available.