Freeview could be a poisoned chalice

THE outcome of Ofcom’s long-anticipated review of the pay-TV market is the world’s worst secret: it will almost certainly make BSkyB slash the amount it charges rivals to show its premium content.

Less attention has been given to the ways in which Ofcom might placate Sky. Allowing the pay-TV giant to access customers via the Freeview platform – which has 10m customers – is one of the sweeteners on the table.

This would allow Sky to access a more casual consumer of sport; it could sell big football matches on a pay-per-view basis, aping the way individual boxing fights are sold at £10 to £15-a-time.

But this could be a dangerous game, as it risks cannibalising Sky’s own subscriber base. According to Execution Noble, around a third of Sky customers are considering switching to Freeview. Making big-hitting sporting events could convince them. Sky should tread carefully.