Pack away the hamper – the Picnic isn’t happening 

12 September 2008 tbs.pm/940

It’s been hanging around for goodness knows how long, but finally BSkyB have done the inevitable, and axed its pay TV proposals for DTT.

But was it ever really likely to happen? Sky proposed radical changes to broadcast infrastructure for its new channels, which when coupled with Sky’s dominance of the pay TV market on satellite, inevitably led to an Ofcom consultation which then got tied up in wider market issues.

This regulation is being blamed for the failure, but is there some other reason? Ultimately one question that’s been asked is size of the potential customer base. After all, if you’re really want pay TV, the chances are that you’re going to have a satellite dish or cable.

The remaining pay TV operatiors – Tiscali TV, BT Vision and Top Up TV – are all pretty small scale operators. Despite being launched in a blaze of publicity, BT Vision had only 150,000 users six months ago which whilst reasonable, is still a very long way from BT’s aim of 2-3 million.

And with the credit crunch biting, and people being warned of potential rescession, now was hardly the time to start launching yet another pay TV service into the market – especially given the loud noise being made by Freesat.

But either way, it reduces a problem for Ofcom who no longer have to think of excuses to stop Sky trying to dominate yet another part of British pay TV.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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