Rapture TVs Sky complaint appeal is rejected

Rapture TV, the digital channel that filed a complaint against BSkyB for over charging to appear on its electronic programme guide (EPG), has suffered a second knock back after the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) unanimously dismissing the claim.

An investigation by broadcast watchdog Ofcom had already ruled that the charges were “entirely fair” but Rapture appealed the decision. The channel, which shows a mix of entertainment and sport, filed the complaint last year and has since been removed by Sky. It is now an internet-only channel.

It argues that it should have been charged less to appear on the EPG when it launched because it was a start-up with a small audience and lower revenues than the more established channels. Rapture originally complained to Ofcom that its annual EPG bill of £76,500 from Sky was “unduly high”, given that its annual turnover was under £150,000.

The CAT confirmed Ofcom’s judgment of February last year that Sky’s EPG charges were “entirely” fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. It described Rapture’s case as “misconceived” and “lacking in foundation”.

The channel, run by chief executive David Henry, claimed the satellite company had breached its regulatory obligations by offering unfair listing terms. But Ofcom cleared Sky of overcharging, leading Rapture to bring the case against the media regulator and Sky to the CAT.

Rapture was broadcast on Sky between June and August 2002, and from May 2003 to July 2004, before relaunching in November 2005.

Sky charges for EPG listings to recover the costs associated with developing and running both the EPG and its digital satellite TV service. Rapture can appeal the decision but must limit the appeal to errors of law by the CAT.

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