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SBD Global/August 9, 2012/Media

BSkyB Wins U.K. Appeal On Sports Channels Prices

Broadcaster BSkyB won "a long-standing dispute over the price it can charge rivals for its sports content" after Britain's Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled in the company's favor on Wednesday, according to Karolin Schaps of REUTERS. The dispute goes back to '10 when media regulator Ofcom ordered the British broadcaster to reduce the amount it charged to competitors such as Virgin Media and BT for its two most important SkySports channels "in a move designed to increase market competition" (REUTERS, 8/8). BLOOMBERG's Erik Larson reported that the Competition Appeal Tribunal's judgement was "confidential and only provided to the parties in the case." In a public summary of its ruling, the tribunal explained it concluded "that Ofcom's core competition concern is unfounded." Ofcom, after a three-year investigation, said BSkyB was using its "market power" to limit distribution to rivals (BLOOMBERG, 8/8). In London, Halliday & Sweney noted the CAT said that the media regulator "misinterpreted some of the evidence that was before it when it ordered BSkyB to sell Sky Sports 1 and 2 to rivals for up to 23% less than the previous wholesale price" in March '10.  However, the tribunal "did not find in BskyB's favour" on each of the grounds that it contested. The broadcaster was unable to convince the tribunal that Ofcom "misinterpreted its powers when it ordered the pay-TV company to reduce its wholesale prices for the two sports channels" (GUARDIAN, 8/8).
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