Culture secretary Maria Miller has called on BSkyB and other pay TV platforms to forego the millions of pounds in charges they rake in for screening BBC and other public service content via its satellites.
The intervention comes amidst an escalating row over current broadcast rules, drawn up when the nascent satellite TV industry wielded nothing like the wealth it does now, which stipulate that the onus lies with broadcasters to stump up in order to ensure coverage.
This means that pay TV platforms receive a double benefit of quality content and regular payments, fuelling an ongoing row.
BSkyB currently earns £5m a year from the BBC for screening its content plus an additional £5m from other public service broadcasters, who argue that it is BSkyB who should be paying them,
Miller said: “Miller said: “Our public service broadcasters should not have to pay other platforms and service providers to carry their content, especially given the clear value this content provides.”
A BSkyB spokeswoman said: “Collectively, the public service broadcasters now pay less than £10 million a year in regulated platform charges and this figure is coming down all the time. We will continue discussions with the public service broadcasters about a range of issues relating to the distribution of their content on our platform, including these charges.”
If the industry fails to resolve the matter amicably Miller has threatened to impose new legislation to guarantee fairness.