BT calls on Ofcom to challenge Sky’s pay TV dominance

British Telecom says UK regulator Ofcom must do more to foster competition in the UK pay TV market, given Sky’s dominant position.

BT Consumer CEO John Petter said consumers are lacking options, citing Sky’s 64 per cent share and lower switching rates compared with broadband contracts.

Perhaps responding to Sky’s own calls for BT and its Openreach subsidiary to be broken up by Ofcom, Petter pointed out Brits pay £50-£75 a year more than the EU average for TV subscriptions.

He said (via Engadget): “Whereas in the energy market regulators have criticised the Big Six operators, in pay TV Sky has a 64 per cent share, so there is really only the Big One.

“Relative to EU averages Sky customers are paying around a half a billion pounds more per year for the basic packages of pay TV channels. Switching in pay TV is 50 per cent lower than the levels seen in broadband, so it is clear we just aren’t seeing the right levels of competition for Sky.”

Petter said Sky’s decision to jack up its prices in response to the launch of BT Sport – which has 2.4m subscribers who don’t have Sky Sports – was because it knew “customers don’t have anywhere else to go.”

He also pointed out the UK broadband market has four major players, none of which have more than a 32 per cent share of the market.

Petter added Ofcom should be just as vigilant in regulating TV competition as it has been in attempting to stamp out monopolies in the telecoms sector.