Ofcom backs BSkyB in BT ads row


BT Sport

UK regulator Ofcom has ruled that BSkyB has not breached its broadcast code in refusing to carry ads for BT’s new rival sports channels.

Following a complaint lodged by BT earlier this year, Ofcom said today that Sky was not in breach of its code on the prevention of undue discrimination between broadcast advertisers.

In a 16-page document outlining its findings, Ofcom said that, in its view, “Sky is pursuing a legitimate commercial interest.” It added that “given the limited extent of the effects on BT” it believes that “Sky’s approach is proportionate.”

Commenting on the ruling, Sky’s group director of corporate affairs, Graham McWilliam, said: “We are pleased that Ofcom has confirmed that we are acting entirely reasonably in declining to advertise a direct competitor on Sky Sports. As we said at the time, BT’s demands are a bit like Tesco expecting to advertise inside Sainsbury’s.”

A BT spokesperson said: “With regulation you win some and you lose some. Whilst this decision has gone against us, we are delighted that Ofcom is going to investigate Sky over their refusal to supply us with Sky Sports on Youview. That is a far bigger issue for us than their refusal to show our ads so this has been a good week for BT in terms of regulation.”

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