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SBD Global/June 21, 2013/Media

Sky Wins Battle With BT Over Refusal To Carry BT Sport Advertisements

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom said that BSkyB "did not unduly discriminate against BT" by blocking its multi-mullion pound TV advertising campaign to promote rival Premier League coverage, according to Josh Halliday of the GUARDIAN. BT complained to the media regulator in February "after BSkyB refused to carry advertising on Sky Sports for its new BT Sport channels." However, Ofcom "dismissed the complaint on Thursday," ruling that BSkyB was "pursuing a legitimate commercial interest" by blocking promotion of a rival's sports coverage. BSkyB said it was "pleased" at the result and compared BT's demands to "a bit like Tesco expecting to advertise inside Sainsbury's" (GUARDIAN, 6/20).

SKY'S THE LIMIT: In London, Christopher Williams reported BT "made a more significant complaint" to Ofcom against BSkyB alleging abuse of market power. BSkyB "has refused to let BT sell the Sky Sports channels on the YouView platform unless it can sell BT Sport to satellite subscribers." Ofcom said that it would "investigate and rule on that complaint next month but BSkyB nevertheless toasted its victory in the fight over advertising." BSkyB Corporate Affairs Dir Graham McWilliam said, "We are pleased that Ofcom has confirmed that we are acting entirely reasonably in declining to advertise a direct competitor on Sky Sports." BT, which also "delivered the bombshell news to investors" on Wednesday that CEO Ian Livingston will quit in September to become trade minister, insisted it had been “a good week for BT in terms of regulation.” A BT spokesperson said, "With regulation you win some and you lose some. Whilst this decision has gone against us, we are delighted that Ofcom is going to investigate Sky over their refusal to supply us with Sky Sports on YouView'' (TELEGRAPH, 6/20).
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