Hollywood studios refuse BSkyB pay-per-view rights

Two giant Hollywood studios, Disney and MCA, have refused to sign exclusive pay-per-view movie deals with Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB. The move will further threaten BSkyB's efforts to dominate the PPV market in the UK in the age of digital television.

Late last month, The Independent reported that Warner Brothers, makers of the Batman films, had also declined to reach an exclusive deal with Sky. The studios, with the exception of Mr Murdoch's Fox, are intent on supplying their movies on a pay-as-you-watch basis to any distribution platform - satellite, cable or digital terrestrial.

Confirming the commitment to non-exclusivity, a Disney spokesperson said: "It is our policy in all our markets to offer pay-per-view rights to broadcasters on a non-exclusive basis. You can take it as read that the policy holds for the UK."

Disney recently reached a pay-movie rights deal with Telepiu, the Italian pay-TV broadcaster. It will get exclusive rights for subscription television in Italy for 10 years but only non-exclusive rights for PPV.

The main studios are eager to encourage the development of rival services for PPV films, which are sold on a so-called "transactional" basis. Unlike subscription deals, for which broadcasters pay a negotiated price for the right to show movies, PPV revenues are shared between the studio and the broadcaster.

BSkyB had hoped to offer a PPV movie service exclusively to customers who already take its two main subscription movie channels, Sky Movies and the Movie Channel. By using the "buy-through" approach, the company had hoped to safeguard its existing premium subscription movie business, even as it introduces pay-per-view. BSkyB's current Hollywood movie rights for standard subscription involve all the large studios, and run until the end of the decade.

Its digital plans called for as many as 60 channels to be set aside for pay-per-view services, out of a planned total of at least 150. Customers would have to buy a new set-top box to receive the digital service, which had originally been planned for late 1997. PPV viewers would pay pounds 2-pounds 3 per movie.

Cable operators expressed delight at the approach being following by the studios. Several cable companies, led by Telewest and Cable & Wireless Communications, the newly formed industry leader, are negotiating for the rights to start a PPV movie service on cable by the end of next year, using new digital set-top boxes which customers will be able to lease. They intend to offer their customers the ability to buy viewing rights to films even if they do not subscribe to the premium movie channels.

BSkyB's stranglehold on the pay-television market has been controversial, and cable companies have loudly complained about the terms under which Sky's movie, sport and niche channels are offered on a wholesale basis to cable operators, for distribution to retail cable customers.

"Why should we pay a middle man?" one cable executive said late last week, vowing to ensure that BSkyB's near monopoly in the analogue market did not extend to the digital age.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss