ITV calls in Ofcom over Sky charges



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From Digital TV Group site

Ofcom has been called in after the breakdown in long-running negotiations between ITV and BSkyB over the encryption contract for ITV1 and ITV2. In November, ITV agreed a two-month extension to its encryption and regionalised electronic programme guide (EPG) contract which was due to expire that month.

ITV is demanding a big cut in its £17m per-annum contract to encrypt ITV1 and ITV2. ITV3 has been broadcast 'in the clear' as an unencrypted channel since launching on
November 1, an option ITV could pursue for ITV1 and ITV2, though that will require the approval of movie and sports rights holders.

The Guardian said the intervention was Ofcom's first involving BSkyB. It quoted an ITV spokesman saying: "In ITV's view, BSkyB's proposed charge for this service - which would ensure that the right regional variants of ITV1 were available at button 103 of BSkyB's programme guide - are unfair, unreasonable and unduly discriminatory, and therefore in breach of BSkyB's obligations under EU and UK law."

A Sky spokesman told the Financial Times: "We look forward to demonstrating to Ofcom that the charges we propose for ITV are consistent with our regulatory obligations."