Cable operators set to challenge BSkyB in Warner film deal

The cable industry is poised to launch an aggressive drive against its rival, BSkyB, after securing the rights to a major pay-per-view movie deal with the Warner Brothers studio.

The cable industry is poised to launch an aggressive drive against

its rival, BSkyB, after securing the rights to a major pay-per-view

movie deal with the Warner Brothers studio.



Four cable operators - Telewest, Diamond Cable, NTL and General Cable -

have joined forces to bid for the rights to the movies. This represents

the first example in the UK of a major Hollywood pay-TV deal not

exclusively secured by BSkyB.



The cable operators are now planning to offer a handful of pay-per-view

movie channels to UK subscribers before the end of the year and a major

marketing campaign is being looked at to launch the service to consumers

and potential subscribers in the cable operators’ catchment areas.



BSkyB has also signed a long-term deal with Warner Brothers. However,

because the Warners deal is shared with the cable companies, cable

viewers won’t have to be Sky subscribers to receive them, a fact that

effectively poses the first real threat to BSkyB’s dominance of the

pay-TV market.



Sky’s own service, the Sky Box Office, will screen films on a

pay-per-view or near video-on-demand basis several months before they

appear on the existing pay-TV services, Sky Movies Screen 1 and Sky

Movies Screen

2.



David Chance, the deputy managing director of Sky, said the Warner

Brothers deal would ’complement the comprehensive pay-per-view service

planned for Sky subscribers’, which will include sport and special

events as well as a range of movies.



Topics