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Sky: iPlayer changes pose “real risk” to competition

BBC makes "no attempt to quantify costs"

Sky has added its voice to Channel 4’s concerns over the BBC’s proposed iPlayer upgrades.

Following Ofcom’s provisional approval for the changes, Sky submitted a response to the regulator questioning how the BBC proposes to fund the upgrades and their impact on public value.

“Whilst the BBC merely notes that the additional costs of acquiring rights for iPlayer will be met from future cost savings, no attempt is made to quantify those costs, or justify the additional benefit that the proposals provide against spending those cost savings on new programming or in some other way to benefit licence fee payers,” the submission said.

The broadcaster also suggested that the changes could disincentivise the corporation to make its content available outside iPlayer, citing the FA Cup and Wimbledon finals as programming currently restricted to the platform.

“There is a real risk that the BBC’s proposed expansion of iPlayer exacerbates these pre-existing issues,” Sky added. “Accordingly, any Ofcom approval of the BBC’s iPlayer proposals should be conditional on the BBC allowing platforms such as Sky’s access to the expanded catalogue of content and enhanced functionalities and formats.”

A final decision is expected later in the summer.