The Italian branch of pay-television company Sky has been hit with a £6.1 million fine by the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) over violations of the country’s advertising code.
The fine followed findings by the AGCM that Sky Italia had repeatedly broken marketing rules in advertising its Sky Calcio package. The marketing for their coverage of the top division in Italian football suggested that the current Sky Calcio package included all of the games in Serie A, as it had done in the previous three years, despite this not being the case.
The AGCM also criticised the broadcaster for its ‘aggressive’ marketing practices, which they said put undue pressure on those customers who had already subscribed to the Sky Calcio package, and did not offer those customers a sufficiently free choice on whether to continue with their package, in view of the fact that the new package featured a reduction of 30 percent in the number of games covered.
The ruling dates back to a deal reached in July last year, when Sky Italia linked up with the digital sports group Perform in order to obtain rights to Serie A broadcasts. The rights included two packages of broadcasts; package 5, which included 114 games and package 6, which was for 152 games. But it did not include the rights to broadcast 114 games per season, which were purchased by Perform, to be shown on its OTT platform. Perform also bought the rights to broadcast Serie B, which had previously been available through Sky Italia. The total value of the packages was €973.3 million for each of the three seasons to 2021.
In addition to criticisms that Sky Italia had failed to make the reduced nature of the package clear to new customers, the AGCM also found they had put existing customers in the position of continuing with their existing Sky Calcio package, which now includes fewer games, or cancelling altogether.
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