The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has today welcomed the news that Sky is to freeze its UK pub and club subscription prices until at least June 2013, but insists the broadcaster is still the ‘underlying cause’ of overpricing in the market.
Alongside the price freeze, Sky is offering 50 per cent off the Sky Ultimate package until 30 September and is introducing an extra 24 HD and SD channels free of charge.
But Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, believes more still needs to be done to stop the satellite TV company having so much control over the pub industry.
“This is good news for pubs, given big price rises in recent years,” she said. “Live sport is now an important part of the pub experience for many pub-goers - never more so than in the summer of 2012, and I’m pleased Sky are acknowledging the financial pressures many pubs are under.
"We remain concerned about the monopoly position occupied by Sky and that this is the underlying cause of overpricing in the market."
Relief for pubs
The news is likely to be met with relief by the majority of the industry, which had initially feared an increase in rates after Sky paid £2.28bn for five of the seven packages of Premier League games for three seasons from 2013/2014.
With this news, the maximum discount available to pubs would be 73.5 per cent. The company will showcase Eurosport's 3D Olympic coverage, as well as the new Premier League season, the UEFA Champions League, the Ryder Cup, La Liga, Formula 1, the British and Irish Lions Tour and the Twenty20 World Cup.
David Rey, managing director of Sky Business, said: "More than ever, we are focused on providing customers with tailored subscriptions, to help them to grow their businesses through the power of live sport.
“Beyond increasing the value of the Sky subscription through our investment on-screen, and in innovative new products and services, we can help our customers enjoy greater certainty over their entertainment expenditure by holding our prices for another year.”
Sky is to continue its discount for food-led outlets of up to 30 per cent. The broadcaster last week announced discounts of up to 33 per cent off Sky Ultimate for Molson Coors stockists.