20 November 2006

Turmoil on ITV

No, it's not a new programme. ITV has been subject to some speculation that it was going to be acquired. First potential suiter was a merger with NTL, followed up not long after by the German company RTL. On Friday however, BSkyB bought nearly an 18% of the shares - just 2% under the maximum stake it is allowed to own, under current rules. NTL (and Richard Branson) have immediately called foul on BSkyB's behaviour, claiming it is anti-competitive. BSkyB responded with a comment that NTL thinks they have the "right" to acquire ITV.

Having lived in a country where all media outlets are locked up by two companies (and seen the damage that does to viewer choice), I believe BSkyB's behaviour needs to be assessed. Also keep in mind that BSkyB is owned by News International who in turn own Fox, the fine purveyor of junk TV.

There is far too much junk on tv at the moment: "reality" tv programmes, ADD-inducing sketch shows and lack-of-talent programmes. Putting more control into the News International group, I am sure will do nothing but increase this nonsense. Plus as a major shareholder, I am sure BSkyB will be happy to derail future bids by ITV for sporting events such as the F1, European Champions league, etc. This may sound far-fetched, but football in Australia is in a still-born state partially due to live games solely being available on Foxtel, the BSkyB equivalent down-under and 50% owned by News International.

I wonder who Johnathan Pryce in Tomorrow Never Dies was meant to be?

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