Trade group demands fresh Sky TV probe

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Related tags: Licensed multiple retailers, Sky sports, Competition, Sky

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has demanded a new investigation into Sky's pricing arrangement with pubs.In a letter sent to...

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has demanded a new investigation into Sky's pricing arrangement with pubs.

In a letter sent to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the ALMR said that Sky is in breach of competition law because the broadcasting giant's dominance in the marketplace puts it in a position to throw its weight around.

Nick Bish, chief executive of the ALMR, told the Publican: "Sky is able to act independently in the marketplace and is therefore able to act abusively to its customers.

"If Sky did not enjoy such a position of strength in respect of the supply of wholesale premium sports packages to its competitors, then its behaviour towards its own customers would inevitably be different."

The ALMR's belief is that Sky has breached the part of the Competition Act that is meant to protect customers when a dominant company is abusive to them.

Mr Bish continued: "The fact that Sky enjoys exclusive rights to the 'must see' events means that pubs have no choice but to subscribe to them and accept the terms the company imposes. We hope the OFT will see that competition needs to be introduced into the marketplace."

Sky declined to comment.

The OFT confirmed that it had received such a complaint and was considering it.

Last summer the ALMR submitted a letter to the OFT as part of a whole raft of complaints about Sky's pricing policies. However, the OFT threw out the case against Sky in December citing insufficient evidence.

In July Sky announced that its subscription charges for Sky Sports were to rise by up to 22 per cent and two weeks ago licensees received quotes for subscription the pay-per-view channel Premiership Plus which had risen, in some cases, by 100 per cent.

Related articles:

EC to block Sky's exclusive Premiership TV rights bid (4 August 2003)

Sky defends latest price increase (31 July 2003)

Trade backs fight against Sky's subscription hike (17 July 2003)

BBPA hits out at Sky (17 July 2003)

Sky bids for sole football rights up to 2007 (14 July 2003)

Labour MP calls on Sky to review pricing policy (10 July 2003)

Champions League coverage justifies price hike, says Sky (7 July 2003)

Pub companies slam Sky price-hike (7 July 2003)

Anger as Sky hikes up fees (3 July 2003)

Sky cleared of breaking competition law (18 December 2002)

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