The media regulator Ofcom today ordered BSkyB to reduce the amount it charges rivals to offer Sky Sports by more than 20%.
BSkyB must reduce the wholesale price at which it sells Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 to rivals such as Virgin Media and BT by 23.4% from the current �13.88 to �10.63 per subscriber per month. On the basis that most subscribers buy packages including the sports channels, the reduction for a bundle is 10.5% from �19.15 to �17.14.
Ofcom also said today that BSkyB is restricting the distribution of premium movie rights, with a knock-on effect for the subscription video-on-demand market, and is proposing to refer the issue to the Competition Commission.
The ruling will spark a high-profile legal challenge from BSkyB likely to be accompanied by appeals from sports governing bodies, including the Football Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board, who believe that it will irreparably harm their businesses.
Rivals such as BT and Virgin Media have promised to cut the prices that their users pay for Sky Sports channels, but are also concerned that BSkyB may be able to exploit loopholes in the ruling such as shifting key sports content to channels not covered by the ruling.