Comms & Media | Working Paper
Assessing ten years of intervention in UK pay tv
10 December 2020
Ofcom identified significant competition concerns in the UK pay TV market and proposed regulatory remedies to address them. For about ten years it tried to get these measure implemented. However, its proposed measures have been repeatedly rejected by appeal bodies and courts. This article critically assesses these interlinked competition decisions disguised as regulatory interventions. It highlights significant issues with the proposed interventions, which have been framed as refusal to supply. It emphasises a failure to properly frame and assess its concerns under a coherent theory of harm, distinguishing and differentiating between premium movies and sport content in terms of what drives consumers’ preferences, and whether the chosen remedies would address any potential consumer harm. The latter concern is particularly relevant as in pay TV, even in the presence of market power and consumer harm, it is at best unclear whether access remedies may substantially benefit consumers.
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