Sky “value” offer suffers new delay

BSkyB’s proposed “value” channel package, Picnic, has suffered another knockback after Ofcom decided to examine the launch as part of its ongoing investigation into the the wider pay-TV market. Picnic was due to launch on digital terrestrial TV this summer.

Ofcom has today (May 13) published a number of responses to a consultation on the market. It says that stakeholders have raised issues about Sky proposal with partner National Grid Wireless that will inform the market investigation and vice versa”.

It adds: “Engagement with stakeholders has confirmed that the issues regarding the Sky/NGW proposal, such as access to premium content, need to be considered alongside the wider market investigation.”

Sky wants to replace its free-to-air channels Sky Three, Sky News and Sky Sports News available on Freeview with pay TV services. The service would also have offered bundled broadband and phone offers with TV.

The satellite broadcaster first mooted the service in early 2007, with a view to launching before the 2007/2008 football season. But the venture was put on hold after Ofcom announced it would investigate the service, but would only begin a 10-week consultation in the aumtn.

A final statement from Ofcom was due to be published in the New Year. Sky executives are understood to be furious with the delay, which affects marketing plans, strategy and airtime sales. At the time an insider called the review “unprecedented”.

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