British broadcaster Sky — a company controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. — has reportedly refused to air ads for a competing service on its channels. The accusation comes from telecoms giant BT, which is making a big play for the UK sports TV market. Sky has enjoyed something of a monopoly on content and distribution in the UK over the past decade. It has double the number of subscribers of its nearest competitor, and around 40 percent of UK households have at last one Sky box.
To combat Sky's dominance, BT is ramping up its sports coverage — traditionally Sky's strongest market. It paid £738 million (roughly $1.13 billion) to broadcast 38 Premiership soccer matches live, and also snapped up the rights to rugby, cricket, and women's tennis. BT has filed an official complaint with the UK's Office of Communications (OFCOM), saying it's the victim of "undue discrimination." It's not clear what grounds Sky gave for refusing to air the ads. Speaking with The Guardian, BT Retail managing director John Petter said "we are happy to take Sky's advertising but they seem afraid of taking ours," comparing Sky's decision to "a rottweiler running away from a newborn puppy."