The Competition Commission (CC) has published a timetable and statement of issues setting out the framework for its market investigation into movies on Pay TV. The announcement follows a three-year investigation into subscription Pay TV movie rights by the Office of Communications, which resulted in a reference to the CC. The CC will conduct a detailed competition inquiry and consider whether any remedies should be imposed. The statement of issues sets out three broad areas of inquiry for the investigation:

  • Market definition and market power in the relevant markets;
  • Wholesale and retail competition; and
  • The supply of movie content by the six largest Hollywood studios and the effects of those supply arrangements.

The CC has until 3 August 2012 to complete the investigation and intends to publish its provisional findings in April 2011.

Pay TV movie rights and packages

The CC will investigate the supply and acquisition of subscription Pay TV movie rights and the wholesale supply and acquisition of packages including core premium movie channels.

  • ‘Subscription Pay TV movie rights’ refers to the intellectual property rights licensed by the six largest Hollywood studios which permit the exhibition of movies on broadcast channels and/or subscription video on demand (SVOD) services in the UK and relate to the first period during which movies are licensed for exhibition on subscription broadcast channels or SVOD services.
  • ‘Core premium movie channels’ are Sky’s movies channels