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Ofcom looks into pay TV industry

Devilfish

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The media regulator Ofcom is to launch an investigation into the pay TV industry following a submission from a group including Virgin Media.

Virgin Media has recently had a bruising battle with BSkyB after failing to agree on a price to carry the basic Sky channels.

The National Consumer Council (NCC) said the dispute was bad for customers.

The group of BT, Setanta, Top Up TV and Virgin Media wants Ofcom to refer the industry to the Competition Commission.

Ofcom's investigation will include subscription and on-demand services across cable, digital terrestrial, satellite and the internet.

The NCC said at the beginning of March that it was considering lodging a super-complaint to the regulator.

"This dispute may expose a more fundamental flaw in the digital television market, and the extent to which it is competitive for consumers," it said.

Ofcom is already investigating BSkyB's purchase of a 17.9% stake in ITV, which effectively prevented Virgin from launching a takeover.