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Ofcom ordered to investigate BSkyB stake in ITV
Monday 26 February 2007 17:25:21 by Andrew Ferguson

November 2006 saw the news that ntl:Telewest was looking to merge with ITV. This was shortly followed by a round of share buying by BSkyB which ended up with Sky holding a 17.9% stake in ITV.

The government has now stepped into the fray by ordering Ofcom to investigate whether this Sky share purchase was against the public interest. BBC News Online has more on this order from the government.

There was a lot of complaining at the time of all this wheeler dealing last year, and the last week has seen it come to head over negotiations about how much Virgin Media (formerly ntl:Telewest) should pay BSkyB to carry the basic Sky channels such as Sky One.

With the current battle that may see shows like Lost, 24, Simpsons and the Stargate franchise disappearing from Virgin Media cable TV services, it is not clear who stands to gain anything, it may end up being a damage limitation exercise. Virgin Media may lose some customers, but many will remain due to the overall bundle of products available. Sky could see advertising revenue drop, but may recoup some of this if people sign-up to Sky satellite services. One wonders though if those in the negotiations have considered the potential power of broadband. Shows like 24 and Lost are very popular on the peer to peer networks, so those really keen on watching these shows may simply download them rather than spend money to watch something that has been taken away from them. Of course, downloading copyrighted material without the copyright holders permission remains illegal but the numbers doing this need to be considered when playing hardball in contract negotiations.

Comments

Posted by rsharma over 10 years ago
A perfect example of corporate egos is on display here. One is about control of the media and the other about the consequences to the consumer but both companies are losing sight how easy it is becoming for people to download TV series and film from the internet. Instead of this kind of argument they should be working closely to attract more users when only today Bittorrent has launched its paid-for P2P service making it even easier for people to download what they want. Other companies are competing fiercely to capture this growing market share with Joost, P2P and VoD services taking off.
Posted by peterweg over 10 years ago
I agree, one I discovered how easy downloading entire series was I have, to a large extent, stopped watching TV.
Posted by Spintronics over 10 years ago
Couldnt agree more, i downloaded over 40 episodes of Lost before it went to sky1, i will be downloading the rest of them now every thursday morning, its really no hassle either, sky is to big for its boots and i hope ofcom give them a kick in the teeth......
Posted by doowles over 10 years ago
10,000+ users downloading Heroes at any one time each week. You think they would see the potential.
Posted by kitkatnodogs over 10 years ago
Two fingers up to Sky. I am with Virgin , and was when it was T.W. I for one will not change just because Murdoch wants to be a be a big bully. (Like father like son.) seeing Richard Bransons track record in the in the past, he has always been fair to the consumer and I for one will trust him in future. Seeing the way Murdock works I wonder how long it will be before we have to pay for I.T.V.
Posted by uktony over 10 years ago
I agree wholeheartedly with the last posting. I also have migrated to Virgin from NTL and all I can say is that thought there Were a FEW Problems with Passwords etc. EVRYTHING was put right with a few (Free) phone calls and put right quickly.
This is more than can be said of the abysmal SKY service that I also use (5 Replacement boxes in as many months)AND after hanging around on their premium number for half an hour at a time only to be passed to another departemet for a further wait.

Come on Vigin
Posted by woolleysox over 10 years ago
I am with Virgin (telewest)and have lost sky sports and Sky one.I have looked into the possible move to sky who can provide the same for half the cost. Worth considering I think. However I have to agree Telewest back up has always been first class to date. Woolleysox.
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