Trade welcomes OFT investigation into Sky's commercial activity

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Related tags: Oft, Premier league

Trade leaders have welcomed a new inquiry into Sky TV's commercial activities launched by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The OFT has shifted the...

Trade leaders have welcomed a new inquiry into Sky TV's commercial activities launched by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The OFT has shifted the focus of its ongoing investigation of the satellite and digital broadcaster to the possible effects of its market domination.

Although primarily focused on the charges made by Sky to supply its programmes to rival broadcasters, the OFT confirmed that the scope of the new investigation also includes Sky's position as the main supplier of Premier League football broadcasts to pubs through its Sky Sports channels.

Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations (FLVA), said the new inquiry indicated that the OFT had taken note of submissions made by the FLVA and other trade bodies earlier this year.

"The OFT asked us to respond to seven specific questions relating to Sky in pubs. I compiled our own response based on the submissions made to us by individual licensees. The OFT apparently believes the issues are worth pursuing," said Payne.

The OFT confirmed that it has received a number of complaints about Sky's charges to pubs, but a spokesman stressed that the OFT is not a price regulator.

The Competition Act, brought in earlier this year, gives the OFT powers to tackle companies which are judged to be abusing a dominant market position. The OFT also stressed that although it feels there are grounds for an inquiry, it should not be assumed that Sky had breached the act. The investigation is expected to last six months.

Sky said it would continue to co-operate with the OFT. "We look forward to an early conclusion to this inquiry," said a spokesman.

Related topics: Sport

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