Sky and VMtv and Five: competition questions

14 September 2010

The transaction size means that the OFT was obliged to examine BSkyB’s purchase of the VMtv channels. The transaction will probably be approved because of the small impact on Sky’s share of NAR (Net Advertising Revenue), which will rise from around 14% to 16%

The more pressing competition concern, which has attracted little attention, is Sky’s growing market power in the determination of carriage fee payments. Nevertheless the lack of companies actively prepared to complain to the OFT probably means that the transaction will go through without a murmur

Separately, the likely purchase of Five by Richard Desmond raises regulatory issues to do with the possible reduction of media ‘plurality’. The Sky/VMtv transaction and Channel 4’s taking over UKTV advertising sales also places Five Sales in a significantly weaker position, but any attempts to join with one of the big three sales groups (ITV, Channel 4 or Sky) may well be rejected by the competition regulators

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