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Netflix and Lovefilm now involved in BSkyB probe

New streaming services have potentially changed the bigger picture in the UK, and the Competition Commission’s investigation is to be prolonged

The issues surrounding the Competition Commission’s probe into BSkyB subscription movie services just got thornier.

The Commission has actually been investigating Sky’s stranglehold on the major Hollywood studios’ movies in terms of pay-TV rights since last summer.

Last year, the Commission decided that Sky’s agreements with six major Hollywood studios – namely Warner Bros, Paramount, Disney, Fox, Sony and Universal – were anti-competitive by nature, and effectively a stranglehold which needed to be weakened.

Since then, we’ve been awaiting the results of the detailed investigation into the matter, and the final report on what action should be taken from the Commission.

That was scheduled to be published in July, but now the waters have been muddied somewhat with a new development.

The Commission is now saying that developments in the market – the introduction of Lovefilm’s streaming service, and the more recent Netflix, to UK shores – means that the situation needs to be reassessed.

Sky is certainly arguing that this changes the playing field. The company intends to launch its own online film platform in due course, which will be separate to its existing satellite subscriptions.

According to the Guardian, the Commission stated: “We recognised in our provisional findings that, were developments in the market to occur, it would be necessary to take them into account before reaching our final views.”

“We are considering their implications, alongside other evidence received since the provisional findings, both with regard to our assessment of whether there is an adverse effect on competition and for any potential remedies.”