Sky’s the limit for pay-TV movies

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BSkyB was handed a reprieve by the competition watchdog yesterday after a ruling over the broadcaster’s stranglehold on pay-TV movies was reversed.

The Competition Commission said the emergence of US-based internet movie service company Netflix meant Sky no longer had a material advantage.

In provisional findings last August, the watchdog said Sky’s deals with six of the big film studios over the rights to films when they are first shown on television restricted competition and meant higher prices and reduced choice. It prompted the Commission to suggest possible remedies, such as restricting the number of studios with which BSkyB can sign exclusive deals.

But the watchdog said the launch of Netflix in January and rival Lovefilm’s internet movie offering gave film-lovers alternatives to Sky. The pair also have the rights to several other studios, including for movies such as the Twilight series and the recently-released The Hunger Games, pictured.