Ofcom Rejects BBC Sounds’ Competition Concerns

The UK’s broadcasting regulator Ofcom has rejected calls to probe competition concerns over the BBC’s move into on-demand audio in a blow to Rupert Murdoch’s rival media empire.

The media watchdog last year launched a review into BBC Sounds, the streaming platform hosting online radio and podcasts from the public service broadcaster, amid concerns about its impact on the wider market.

Murdoch’s Wireless Group, which runs Talk Radio, Talk Sport, and Virgin Radio, had complained that BBC Sounds was “perpetuating an unequal playing field in UK audio production, broadcasting and distribution.”

“The scale of the BBC’s podcast output and commissioning resources have resulted in significant market imbalances, contributing to the growth of BBC Sounds, but impeding the development of the independent podcast sector,” it wrote in a submission.

But in its initial findings published today Ofcom stated it did not believe the app was harming competition in the audio market.

It found that commercial radio groups, which include Global and Bauer as well as Wireless, had been more successful at attracting online audiences than the BBC.

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.