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However, the next set of channels do cost if you have Sky. The "platform access cost" is £234, and for the full range of non-premium channels, it is £294 a year.
The Sky Sports channels (viewing share 2.7%) cost an extra £243 each year. The Sky Movies channels (viewing share 1.5%) costs an extra £192 a year.
However, the final 5.8% of viewing is of free-to-air channels:
Sky's charges to other broadasters
So, you would think that Sky would be very grateful to the public service broadcasters, because all their content is what people actually watch most of the time. All the public service broadcasts on satellite are using transponders the broadcasters have obtained directly from SES Astra - Sky do not own the satellites, they also rent their capacity from SES Astra.
EPG listing charge: £21,000 per TV channel per year, £16k per radio channel per year. The BBC list 11 TV channels excluding the 20 regional variations of BBC One and Two, and 18 radio channels. That's £231k for the non-regional plus £420k for the regional slots, and £288k for the radio stations, £939k total.
Then there's a 'Platform Contribution Charge' which seems to be set on viewership. For the BBC:
The BBC is probably paying Sky in the region of £11-12m for EPG services.
In most businesses, it is the business that has to pay for the data it uses. Newspapers don't charge the journlists for their reports. Marketing companies have to pay for address lists. You don't get paid a pound-a-minute for calling 118118. How Sky get away with this outrage is a very good question.
Perhaps the BBC should just stop paying the Platform Contribution Charge?
Then the Sky customers could complain that they are not getting the full EPG; and would not be able to record future programs. They would then be left with only the "subscription" channels as they don't have iPlayer with Sky either.
The Sky customers then could force Sky to pay the BBC to populate their proprietary EPG.
As you can guess, I am not a fan of Sky or Mr Murdoch...
Considering the cost cutting the BBC are having to do and with talk of threats to BBC4, the one intelligent channel on TV, I don't see why the BBC should pay Sky millions just to go on their EPG. I think they should pay the BBC for being able to broadcast their programmes, which our licence fees have paid for. Any programme that people start watching in any numbers is bought up by Sky, so then you have the choice of paying Sky or not watching further episodes. True Blood, Mad Men to name just two!
David - I've no problem in people having choice and if one can afford it at SKY's subscription rates that's OK. What I and I suspect many many others will object to is the money being paid to SKY by the Public Service broadcasters - being legally constrained to do so - ie:- generated from the licence from us all, This effectively meaning that 70% of licence fee payers currently get no return from this where this should be directed into programming and maintaining staffing levels. It's a very different playing field now from that when for many years SKY were a loss making commercial concern it no longer requires effective 'shoring up' with PSB's when there are two alternative platforms in "Freeview" and "Freesat". I am not saying they should necessarily come off SKY's platform but if SKY want them on it and inclusion on their EPG. they should be the one's paying for that. I wonder how their business model would fair were the PSB's legal constraints to be removed and a decision taken to move off and concentrating their Satellite broadcasting without the middle man in their existing direct links with Astra, Eutelsat and the "Freesat" platform.
I believe these figures cover all platforms including Freesat and Freesat from Sky. I am sure if you only included Sky Subscribers the proportion of pay tv would be much higher. Otherwise people would not subscribe.
First of all cheap products always sell in higher quanities than the more expensive. Cheap cars sell in much greater quanities than Aston Martins. So it is not suprizing that the so call free channels are viewed the most.
For me the most watched channel by far is Sky Sports 1. On the BBC I will only watch F1, New Tricks, and Who Do you Think You Are. As far as I am concerned that is very poor value for money especially as F1 is going to Sky next season. The rest of BBC output is either trash or repeats.
Actually for a number of years ITV did refuse to go on the Sky EPG but eventually changed their minds because they were loosing audiences. I don't think there is any law that makes the BBC go on the Sky EPG. If the BBC did refuse they would however face a barrarge of complaints from Sky subscribers who also have to pay the licence fee.
As I understand it Skys EPG charges have to be the same for all broadcasters so the BBC is not paying any more than anyone else.
David: I don't recall saying I "didn't like Sky", I said I was objecting to this particular business practice, which is that of a monopolising company, and which under normal "market rules" would be deemed illegal.
Liking or not has nothing to do with it whatsoever.
Peter: Perhaps if the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 got together in a room and came to an agreement, the threat to Sky that three-quarters of their EPG usage would not work might get them interested.
Brian I did not mean to imply anyone should pay SSSL on Freesat. Actually Freesat is dependent on Sky for their EPG infrastructure so do have to pay Sky for those services.
Sky news has chosen not to go on the Freesat EPG just as ITV refused to go on the Sky EPG at one time. It's a free world. The situation is different with the BBC though as everone has to pay for the BBC licence. The BBC policy of being on all platforms is proper while the universal fee exists.
The BBC also has to pay Virgin so this is not just a Sky issue.
The only reason for any free to air channel being on the Sky EPG is that there is a profit in doing so. In other words the number of viewers using the EPG justifies the cost.
trevorjharris: "Actually Freesat is dependent on Sky for their EPG infrastructure so do have to pay Sky for those services. "
I'm sorry, but that is 100% inaccurate. The Freesat EPG broadcasts are independent from the Sky EPG, it is a totally different service.
For one thing, the Freesat EPG has full radio channel listing!
The delays to Freesat are caused by Sky using "technical difficulties" excuses (as they always do) because they have to "approve" the Freesat EPG datastream when it appears on one of the transponders they manage.
You should not too that the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 all have to carry the full-Sky now-and-next-and-a-bit EPG on their own transponders at their cost, even though they are handing over millions of quid to Sky.
(The full Sky EPG is on the "default transponder", which is why you can't view TV and see the full EPG on "classic" Sky boxes).
I don't know about Virgin, I don't have any evidence of the situation either way.
"The only reason for any free to air channel being on the Sky EPG is that there is a profit in doing so."
The Freesat EPG and MHEG data streams have to go though Sky's adaptation hub where it is multipexed with Sky's own data streams. Sky quite correctly have a quality control procedure to implement changes. This did at one time slow down the Freesat expansion.
We all saw what happened when the BBC changed it's HD transponder to DVB-S2 without adaquate quality control. Thousands were left without service.
From this point of view Freesat is very dependent on Sky. Infact without Sky Freesat would never have happened it would just be too expensive to setup an independent service.
Martin jeeves Tuesday 30 August 2011 4:56PM Newport Pagnell
I have a ross freesatbox and have linked it up to a unused sky dish works very well apart from one thing bbc hd channel has a weak signal so cannot receive anything on bbc hd any ideas should I build the dish that came with the ross box and use that ,could the old sky dish be out of date been up outside the house unused for more than 11 years thanks for any help
Colin Tuesday 30 August 2011 5:11PM Henley-on-thames
Yes, we all have to pay the BBC license fee but that really shouldn't mean that the BBC should pay to have its services broadcast and listed on the Sky EPG. Surely they should just make sure that the broadcasts and EPG information is available to Sky to take up at their own choice. If they choose not to (a perfectly reasonable business decision that they can make) then it is up to the Sky subscribers to force the issue.
£11m seems a ridiculous amount to have to pay.
And if Sky refuse, sky subscribers still have the option of using a free service (freeview / freesat) in addition to their sky service after all.
Martin jeeves: The Ross box is not Freesat, but generic free-to-air (FTA). It doesn't update channel changes like a Freesat bo,x, but it will receive the BBC HD channels if it's an HD box so you need to edit the BBC transponder (10847V) with the new symbol rate (23000) and re-scan it.
Can we please stop the nonsense about the license fee being a payment to the BBC. It is a tax which goes to the UK government. The UK government like to dress it up as a payment to the BBC for obvious reasons. If it wasn't a tax then the BBC could choose what to do with it and my guess is that it wouldn't include the World Service or subsidising broadband to the shires or all the other myriad purposes for which the telecommunication tax is used.
I agree most vehemently with Briantist and am the first to admit to a visceral loathing of Murdoch and Sky who single handedly have turned the Premier League into the cash obsessed obscenity it now is. I stronly object to the licence fee being used to contribute to Sky's profits for a service that they should be paying for.
Additionally, is it right that Sky should dominate HD output to the extent that even the ITV satellitechannelsHD content is only available on Sky leaving only the two BBC and main ITV channels as free to view ?
While the Licence Fee is effectively a tax, the Government hand it all to the BBC. It is to fund a Public Service therefore it is right that the public should have a say in it's output, currently through the BBC trust. The system may not be perfect, and should always be open to public debate, but the BBC is by far the best quality broadcast organisation in the World. I detest Adverts.
The Government lay down PSB service requirements, including levels of news, current affairs, proportion of original domestically produced programming and a requirement to cover 98.5% of the UK population by terrestrial broadcast, and availability on other platforms. This is why the BBC pay the Platform Contribution Charge. I do agree it is obscene for Sky to be allowed to charge for this though.
The Government DO NOT have a direct influence on BBC programming. Parliament and individual MPs do of course (quite rightly) comment.
The BBC World Service is directly funded by the UK government NOT the Licence fee. It does seem reasonable that they should proscribe the service levels (but not the programme content!)
The BBC has to pay Arqiva for the distribution and transmission of the terestrial channels why shouldn't they pay Sky for EPG transmission.
You say "the BBC is by far the best quality broadcast organisation in the World". I totally disagree as the BBC has been deteriating over the last few years. The BBC schedule is now largely repeats. The News reporting is now at the lowest standard I have ever seen it. Quality sport is almost non existant except for what is obtained on the cheap by the protected right laws. Very little original drama now as well. As for adverts I record most programs and just skip the adverts.
The new licence fee arrangment will mean that the Licence fee will be paid for by the licence fee.
The BBC were caught out by HD an totally misread HD demand and still many programs are not in HD. The BBC were also slow in adopting wide screen. The BBC prefered to spend our money on a massive building program and the legacy DAB radio system. BBC One HD was not planned to start till 2012 and BBC news will not go HD till 2013. When colour was introduced there was a big increase in the licence fee to pay for it but not for HD.
ITV's decision to provide some HD channels as pay tv was mainly financial. Freeview HD only covers part of the country and there will be no more room on terestrial till 2016 in any case. The majority of viewers on satellite are Sky subscribers and they get the ITV HD channels at no extra cost.
It is strange behaviour of Sky subscribers from the analysis above to pay for something they already can get for free. I too know people who have a Sky Sports subscription who for the most part watch the BBC/ITV FTA channels. I suspect you have to be a real sports fanatic to pay the extortionate fees that Sky demand to watch their programmes which are by no means advert free.
As for the fees Sky charge for appearing on their EPG, I understood when the BBC ditched Sky some years back from using their encryption system and moved to Astra 2D, there were going to be only one-off fees to change the Sky software accordingly, not unreasonable, so I don't understand how this has become an annual charge of nearly between 11 and 12 million pounds as indicated in the article when I understood previously they were paying around 17 million for handling the whole transmission which included paying Astra too.
Maybe the Murdocks have more influence at the BBC than we know and have hacked a few phones of television centre top-brass and know where the bodies are buried.
I wasn't aware of this situation and am pleased that I now am. The situation is complicated, not least by the top level media executives travelling between Sky, BBC, ITV (and even the government). You have highlighted a clear inconsistency that I believes needs rectifying.
If I wanted to attempt to change the situation, to whom should I write? I know I am one voice but its right to try.
That amount of cash to list stations is outrageous and stupid. I'm going to go the freesat route as I don't want to pay sky a silly monthly charge what's the best freesat to go for is it bbc or sky's one ? I assume you get more channels with the sky one ? Which is best? Thanx
Am sure the murdoks will get another grilling soon anyway but no doubt they will just buy their way out of trouble. Their power over the uk's prog's are just stupid and unfair F1 springs to my mind I expect moto gp will be next on the list to go!!! :(
Sky pays the BBC,channel 4,more4 ande 4 to have their channels on EPG inRepublic of Ireland.Sky had to do this in order to compoete with UPC cable which relays these channels on their systems free under the tv without frontiers agreement.Upc also relays UTV which Sky is prevented from doing for internal competion reasons.Sky brochures in Ireland state that above channels are available without subscription.There are Irish versions of the Channel 4 group for advertising purposes.,only on Sky.
P.batley, your advise is ok but you assume people have allready had an installation and a dish just waiting to have its co-ax plugged in.
The £175 paid once to Sky is a complete set up.
If no previous Sky dish on top of the Freesatbox one would have to arrange purchase of a dish and its installation.
Surely the government should have made it legal that any channels that are free to air in this country should have free slots on any broadcasting format that has a significant audience market share. But for SKY to lose this small revenue source now would surely mean that the money would recuperated through another subscription increase.
Would think it to do with Sky or the BBC etc. and not SES/Astra or the Owners of the Eurobird which is also used, as these Satellite owners are only hireing out to Sky and the other broadcaster.
It does get complecated more because different Broadcasters up link from other countries too so as to be covered by that countries broadcasting laws rather than those in the UK and Ofcom.
Sorry but SKY is indeed a rip off.
More and more consumers are switching over to the Freeview and Freesat boxes, and two million sales of these boxes should be enough evidence to prove my point.
With SKY's full HD package, your looking at £800 per year plus your regular TV licence on top and your nudging a grand!... That's a lot of money for most working class people.
SKY's boast of being able to receive 500+ channels is a white elephant considering that you can only physicality watch one programme at a time.
I saw the light and bought a HUMAX HD box, it did everything for me that Sky's box did minus a few hundred channels admittedly, but so what?
Around 80% of what i watched on SKY i can get on Freesat and i save a cool £52 per month to boot which now pays for my central heating oil instead of lining Rupert Murdoch's pockets!
How can 10 million house holds in the UK willingly hand over seven Billion a year to The Murdoch empire but allow this government to cut the same amount from their Health service. They should really get their priorities right
Kate: Ofcom regulates the charges that Sky can charge other providers to carry their sports and movie channels (wholesale charges). It does not regulate the charges that Sky is making for carrying channels in their EPG. That's why we're in this mess.
Encryption is a slightly complicated subject. Encryption can be used for two reasons:
2. To avoid rights issues that would involve paying more for programmes
The footprints of the earliest satellites in the cluster that carry the UK channels actually cover most of western Europe. You can see them at ASTRA 2A - SES.com and ASTRA 2B - SES.com (the pages are currently broken, hopefully they'll be back soon). The programme-makers - particularly films and acquisitions from the US - want more money if the broadcasts can be received anywhere in Europe. Encryption segregates the market, only allowing those with a UK viewing card to watch a channel intended for the UK, avoiding this problem.
Astra, with influence from the BBC, launched a new satellite Astra 2D in 2000 with a footprint only covering the UK and Ireland. This allowed the BBC to stop paying Sky to encrypt their channels and broadcast free-to-air. The EXACT SAME UNENCRYPTED transmissions are viewed by Freesat, Sky, and non-branded free-to-air boxes. There is NO encrypted copy of BBC One, Two, Three or Four on this satellite cluster. Later, Channel 4 moved all of their non-subscription channels here and ITV moved most of theirs, and there's also one version of Channel 5. Unfortunately, it's run out of capacity, so the other channels cannot move yet.
Even if you do encrypt, you may not get any revenue. There are 'free-to-view' channels such as 5* and 5 USA, where the operator has decided that ANY current or former Sky subscriber can watch the channel. It's encrypted, and you need a current-generation viewing card and a Sky box (because Sky's encryption method is proprietary), but you don't need an ongoing subscription. Sky call these 'Included Channels' on their website and indicate those that require the viewing card.
Of the traditional PSB channels, only a few regional variants of ITV1 and Channel 5 are encrypted, and those are 'included channels'.
On another page, Briantist claimed that transponder rental is about £4m per year. One transponder carries seven to nine SD channels or variants, or three to four HD channels, or of course a mixture, but on average maybe £500k for an SD channel. That said, there are 18 SD variants of BBC One, £9m.
Sky charge the BBC £5.6m for BBC One being on the platform at all, £25,000 for the EPG slot, and a very complicated charge I haven't fully worked out for regionalization, could be as much as £500k. But that is on top of the broadcasting charges that have already been incurred, for ZERO additional work on Sky's part.
I should add that there is a new satellite, Astra 1N, designed to provide more capacity for the UK and Ireland channels. One of its broadcast dishes has a footprint covering only the British Isles. It should have arrived at the cluster site in the last day or so, or if it hasn't, it will do soon. The rumour is that some of the 'free-to-view' channels will move across and become free-to-air, no encryption.
Channel 4 HD recently stopped using encryption and moved to the Eurobird 1 satellite which is a little further away, but still close enough to provide coverage. This is Europe-wide. They have decided it's better to pay the extra for content than to continue to pay for encryption. It may well move to Astra 1N once that goes into service, as Channel 4 have agreed to rent space on that satellite.