Sky fails to secure exclusive Hollywood film rights

BSkyB's monopoly on programming was dealt a blow last night after it emerged that On Demand Management, the consortium of cable companies, was on the point of securing pay-per-view film rights from the Hollywood studios. Cathy Newman examines the threat to BSkyB's stranglehold on pay- TV.

BSkyB had originally hoped to negotiate an exclusive pay-per-view deal with studios such as Disney, Universal, MGM and Warner, but it is now clear it will have to put up with sharing the rights with the cable companies.

On Demand's move comes just a week after NTL, the US cable company, joined the consortium, which is led by Telewest Communications, the second largest UK cable operator.

Gaining the rights is a victory for the cable companies, which have in the past been poor at presenting a united front against BSkyB.

Apart from Telewest and NTL, On Demand is also thought to include General Cable, Diamond Cable Communications and Comcast Cable. Cable & Wireless Communications was originally part of the consortium, but it dropped out after entering talks with BSkyB about using the satellite broadcaster as its exclusive pay-per-view supplier. CWC and BSkyB have still not reached agreement, after key executives at CWC questioned the value of teaming up with Rupert Murdoch's satellite broadcaster.

Neither BSkyB nor On Demand could be contacted for comment last night, although an announcement is due early next week.

So far, pay-per-view events - where consumers pay to see a specific film or sporting fixture - have all been negotiated by BSkyB and have mainly been limited to boxing events. But digital television, which launches next Spring, will open the way for a range of pay-per-view opportunities, especially in the film industry.

The proliferation of channels promised by the switch from analogue to digital will enable individual movies to be shown at roughly 15-minute intervals on different channels, a system known as near-video-on-demand.

According to some City analysts, pay-per-view movie services could be a big money-spinner for the cable companies. Although digital technology will enable BSkyB to carry far more channels than it can currently, transmitting by satellite still limits the number. Cable, on the other hand, has virtually limitless capacity.

NTL's involvement in On Demand did not come as a surprise as the US company is involved in merger talks with Telewest. NTL had first approached Telewest about merging in the hopes of creating a rival to CWC, which was formed from a pounds 4.5bn four-way merger in April. City analysts say the cable industry desperately needs to consolidate if it is to improve penetration and reduce its debts.

However, some observers are sceptical about the likely success of a merger, as both Telewest and NTL are in a fairly shaky financial position. Telewest has recently adopted an initiative to boost its profits by charging broadcasters for channels aired on the cable operator's network.

Telewest has continually attacked the high fees charged by BSkyB and other programmers, which have eroded margins.

Suggested Topics
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
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

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Business Development Manager / Media Sales Exec

£28 - 32k + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...

C# .NET Developer (PHP, Ruby, Open Source, Blogs)

£40000 - £70000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# .NET ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor