Sky scores victory in BT Sport advertising spat

BSKyB has been handed a victory in its long-running battle with BT after the media watchdog ruled it was right to refuse to broadcast BT Sport ads on its own sports channels.  

BT Sport ad

In a ruling announced today (20 June), Ofcom says Sky has the right to protect its brand and was not unduly discriminating against its rival.

BT’s complaint was lodged in April after Sky Media refused to broadcast a TV ad campaign media agency Maxus was attempting to book on Sky Sports for its client BT Sport. 

In its ruling, Ofcom says there is “wide availability” on other commercial channels for BT to target sports fans and that in prohibiting BT Sport ads on its channels Sky was “pursuing a legitimate commercial interest”.

A spokesman for Sky says: “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.”

He adds it is “disappointing” BT has “again gone down the regulatory road”. This despite the fact the Ofcom decision comes a week after it emerged Sky had lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority, alleging BT Sport’s “free” claim in its multi-million ad campaign for BT Sport was “misleading” because it fails to acknowledge there are additional costs involved in becoming a BT Sports subscriber.

Earlier this week BT complained to Ofcom over Sky’s refusal to wholesale Sky Sports 1 and 2 to YouView.

Referencing the complaint and responding to the ruling on ad placement, a BT spokeswoman says: “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.”

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here