Sky rivals call on Ofcom to speed up its probe into the pay-TV market

Broadcasters have urged Ofcom to speed up its review of the pay-TV industry, calling on it to implement rules to force Sky to wholesale premium sports and movies content to rivals at fixed prices.<br /><br />The watchdog yesterday published submissions to its third consultation on the pay-TV review, which showed that Sky&rsquo;s rivals are becoming increasingly frustrated over slow progress.<br /><br />&ldquo;At this stage, it seems likely that the third anniversary of the investigation&rsquo;s beginning will arrive before the plans are implemented,&rdquo; Virgin Media, BT and Top Up TV said in a joint submission.<br /><br />Ofcom launched the investigation because of concerns that BSkyB&rsquo;s market dominance enables it to limit the availability &ndash; and control the price &ndash; of premium sport and movie content, preventing others from entering thepay-TVspace.<br /><br />The BBC called for &ldquo;no further delay to action, since this would make it more difficult for potential competitors to survive or develop.&rdquo;<br /><br />Many in the industry had hoped that Ofcom would publish its final conclusions before the end of this year, but that now looks highly unlikely. A failure to implement new rules before the general election could mean Ofcom&rsquo;s efforts are wasted, as the watchdog might lose powers under a Tory government.<br /><br />Meanwhile, sports bodies such as the Football Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board attacked Ofcom&rsquo;s plans, saying that they would lead to lower bids for sports rights.