Saturday, 13 September 2008

Ofcom, BskyB and Picnic.

Ofcom, BskyB and Picnic.

Picnic? What is Picnic?, Picnic is a scheme devised by BskyB to replace three (3)
free-to-air channels on Freeview with three (3) pat TV channels.
Within 24 hours of releasing information about Picnic BskyB was on the back foot from the Competition
Commissions preliminary findings that BskyB's November 2006 purchase of a 17.9%
stake in ITV had reduced competition. The 17.9% deal in November cost BskyB £940 million, the Commissions provisional findings into the November deal was that;
BskyB would be able to influance ITV's key strategic decisions, particularly in relation to investment in content, capacity or new technology.
Ofcom's reply yesterday came as no surprise to those following the procedure towards the outcome;

Ofcom response to Sky's statement on its "Picnic" proposal
Ofcom response to Sky's statement on its "Picnic" proposal

As Ofcom announced in May 2008, we are currently considering BSkyB’s Picnic proposal in conjunction with the PayTV Market Investigation.

The Picnic proposal raises complex issues, and is likely to have a significant effect on the future development of the PayTV market as a whole. As all parties are aware, Ofcom will very shortly issue a further consultation document. Any decision to suspend the project is entirely a business matter for BSkyB.

Ofcom rejects the implications of BSkyB’s comments today and would highlight the following facts:

1. Having announced Picnic in a press statement in February 2007, BSkyB took two months to submit the necessary application and a further two months to provide sufficient information to enable Ofcom to publish a consultation document on the matter.
2. When Ofcom consulted on both the Picnic proposal and the PayTV Market Investigation, several stakeholders, including BSkyB, responded late to these submissions. BSkyB submitted its response on the PayTV Market Investigation over six weeks after the 26 February 2008 deadline.

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