Arrival of Netflix and Lovefilm sees competition watchdog call off probe into Sky's movie dominance
Arrival of Netflix and Lovefilm sees competition watchdog call off probe into Sky's movie dominance By Harry Glass Published: 06:23 EDT, 2 August 2012 | Updated: 06:51 EDT, 2 August 2012 3 View comments Sky will continue to show new Hollywood blockbusters before anyone else in the UK after the Competition Commission ruled its dominance of the pay-TV market is not unfair. The recent advent of streaming services such as Lovefilm and the U.S. firm Netflix satisfies any previous worries that people would be forced to buy Sky just to get their film fix, said the regulator. Both services have became available since the Commission began its investigation into the sector two years ago. Blockbusters: Sky has a deal with six of the biggest Hollywood studios to show their films first - including Christopher Nolan's popular Batman trilogy BSkyB has deals with six of the big film studios over the rights to films when they are first shown on television, and in provisional findings last August the watchdog initially ruled that this restricted competition. But it revised this view in May and confirmed today that it will not be taking any action on the issue. Inquiry chairman Laura Carstensen said: 'It is clear that consumers now have a much greater choice than they had a couple of years ago when our investigation began. More... Soaring sales see Next steal a march on Marks & Spencer in High Street battle High Street dealt fresh blow as UK arm of motorcycle clothing chain Hein Gericke goes into administration FTSE LIVE: Traders on tenterhooks ahead of ECB moves on euro; BAE results disappoint 'Lovefilm and Netflix are proving attractive to many consumers, which reinforces our view that consumers care about range and price as well as having access to the recent content of major studios.' The pair have the rights to several other studios, including for movies such as the Twilight series and the recently-released hit The Hunger Games. Choice: The streaming services have deals with some film studios, including for movies such as the Twilight series and recent hit The Hunger Games (above) The inquiry also noted the launch of Sky's own internet-based service Now TV, which will offer Sky Movies without the need to take any other pay-TV content or subscribe to Sky's platform. However, it did note that competition in the pay-TV market overall remains ineffective, but concluded that first-pay movie content does not provide Sky with an advantage when competing for pay-TV subscribers. In a statement, Sky said there was 'overwhelming evidence that UK consumers are well served by strong competition between a growing number of TV providers, including those offering movies'. The Commission's decision to overturn its provisional findings was criticised by BT, which said recent market developments did not alter the fact that Sky holds all the exclusive first-run rights for the major Hollywood studios. It said in May: 'Like BT, new entrants are still locked out of the chance to offer their customers the most recent films on subscription.' And anyhow, the Commission said customers are more interested in having a broad range of programmes than watching the most recent movies.