Sky and its Film Studio Buddies Face EU Anti-Trust Investigation

By Gary Cutlack on at

The European Commission is looking into agreements between Sky UK and the big film companies, suggesting their terms effectively lock EU viewers out of being able to access film content. Which you can't do, as we're all supposed to be one happy European family nowadays, sitting around the same TV watching a hardcoded subtitled Dutch version of Iron Man 3.

The EC's complaint is with Sky UK and the big six Hollywood content producers -- Disney, NBC Universal, Paramount, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. -- and states that they're guilty of placing "contractual restrictions" on their services that stop people in other EU countries from accessing the UK TV services.

In short, this is great news for ex-pats. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU. Our investigation shows that they cannot do this today, also because licensing agreements between the major film studios and Sky UK do not allow consumers in other EU countries to access Sky's UK and Irish pay-TV services, via satellite or online. We believe that this may be in breach of EU competition rules. The studios and Sky UK now have the chance to respond to our concerns."

The ruling says this "territorial exclusivity" goes against the rules of the borderless EU dream, so ought to be eliminated. [EC]