Sky TV gets a competition warning

October 9th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

has been issued with a warning that its contracts with telcos were likely to have previously harmed competition, says the .

However, market developments mean those particular parts of the contracts are unlikely to have that effect now or cause harm in the future, says commission chair Mark Berry.

As such, the commission issued Sky a warning and said the pay-tv provider was on notice that the regulator would continue to monitor its contracts.

The Commission said it will take no further action right now over what it called “historical breaches”.

“We believe that Sky entered into historical agreements with RSPs [retail services providers] that had the purpose, effect, or likely effect of substantially lessening competition,” Berry said.

“However due to market developments, the key commitments Sky has with RSPs are unlikely to continue to have the same effect. For example the new sports pay TV product from Coliseum and the recent exemption granted by Sky to Telecom to market this product,” he said.

“As a consequence, a warning letter and notice that we will continue monitoring Sky’s contracts and conduct was the prudent course of action,” Berry said.

I’m very keen to see market developments that get us more competition and choice.

It also said Sky’s contracts with content providers were not likely to have breached the law.

“There appeared to be sufficient content of all types available outside of Sky’s exlusive contracts to put together an appealing pay TV package,” a statement from the commission said.

My preference is for contracts to be non-exclusive. By this I mean of course a contract for a TV series will exclude another TV channel showing that series – but they shouldn’t restrict other outlets such as DVDs or Quickflix from being able to offer the material in different mediums.

have said:

Sky should consider itself extremely lucky today. The ruling is a cop out from the Commission. A monopoly as powerful as Sky should not be able to get away with uncompetitive behaviour. It is a kick in the guts to consumers.

“The Commission appears to have decided not to take any action because a case would cost too much and take too long. That’s not good enough. It should do its job as a regulator,” said Kris Faafoi.

I do wish Labour would think about the internal consistency of their public positions.

How can you argue that the Government should not second guess the Commerce Commission when it comes to copper broadband pricing, yet jump in yourself and claim they got it wrong in this case and should do what politicians say in this area.

Effectively Labour have now undermined their own arguments on the copper pricing issue. It’s an own goal, and an annoying one, because as people know I’m one of those saying leave the Commerce Commission process on copper pricing alone.

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5 Responses to “Sky TV gets a competition warning”

  1. Redbaiter (8,528 comments) says:

    Close the Commerce Commission down and give me back the tax taken from me that is used to run it. Like so many commissions, I don’t want it, I can’t afford it, and I would prefer to spend that money elsewhere.

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  2. Nostradamus (3,244 comments) says:

    What makes Kris Faafoi think he’s qualified to speak on competition law matters anyway (other than in some irrelevant Labour spokesperson capacity – which just means putting out angry press releases without engaging with the technical detail)?

    As someone who’s previously worked at the Commerce Commission, I have some understanding of how they’d have reached their decision, and the sort of factors they’d have taken into account. Nothing like how Faafoi portrays it.

    Frankly, Faafoi comes across as something of a know-nothing dick.

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  3. dime (9,847 comments) says:

    “I’m very keen to see market developments that get us more competition and choice.”

    all good in theory. but could be shitty for sports lovers.

    imagine 2 sky tv’s. one has rugby, the other has league.

    all of a sudden Dime is spending $160 a month instead of $80

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  4. burt (8,231 comments) says:

    A monopoly as powerful as Sky should not be able to get away with uncompetitive behaviour. It is a kick in the guts to consumers.

    It’s a laugh a minute when the lovers of state run monopolies decry powerful monopolies acting in their own best interest.

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  5. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    You can stream sport from Bet365 if you put a bet on a game. $A1 per game for the few games I watch per month is nothing. And you might come out ahead!

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