Monday, 4 October 2010

Sky's powers need a limit

This caught my interest yesterday:

You'll see, if you read the piece, a reference to this case potentially being the Bosman of broadcasting. That may not mean anything to you if you don't follow football but it could mean a complete freeing up of broadcast consumers' right to choose, with pub landlords such as Ms Murphy being able to buy their satellite football coverage from suppliers based overseas. Personally, I wish her the best. I realise that it's the Premier League who have brought the action, not Sky, but we all know who stands to benefit most. Sky's water-tight relationship with the Premier League, and their resultant dominance of football coverage in this country, is so overpowering that they're changing the face of the game, and not necessarily for the better.

I'd like to know which other business limits your right to choose so zealously - if you want a Mini, for example, you can buy one not only from any Mini dealership but plenty of other sources. The good people who make Minis are not going to come after you for failing to buy them from a single outlet, nominated by them, who charges you ten times the price of the bloke down the road.

Ms Murphy is not even stealing intellectual property in my opinion, because she's been paying an authorised supplier of the images, merely one that's authorised in another territory. She describes Sky as 'greedy' and argues that they run a zealously guarded virtual monopoly, free to charge pubs for example, almost what they want for their coverage in this country.

I realise it's not as simple as that - I know that Sky supply a lot of the infrastructure and bandwidth on which many other satellite channels rely, for example - but anything which prises open Sky and the Premier League's vice-like grip on football can only be a good thing for me.

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