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Friday, 2 April 2010

Ofcom v Sky: The epic business battle of 2010‏

Just so we all know how it works:
"here are three facts - and you can decide whether they are related or not.

James Murdoch, the chairman of BSkyB and the presumed heir to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation throne, has argued with some passion that Ofcom intervenes excessively in the media market and could do with neutering.

David Cameron, the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, and a nose ahead in the race to be Britain's next prime minister, has announced an intention to scale back Ofcom and take it out of what he described as "making policy".

This is what Mr Cameron said last July: "with a Conservative Government, Ofcom as we know it will cease to exist. Its remit will be restricted to its narrow technical and enforcement roles. It will no longer play a role in making policy."

Also, News Corporation's most-widely-read newspaper, the Sun ("wot won it"), has switched allegiance from Labour to the Tories - and is currently heaping opprobrium on the government in its pages with what reads like undisguised relish.

All of which lends more than just a frisson - perhaps a better metaphor would be "earthquake" - to an investigation by Ofcom that represents the first attempt by any British regulator to argue that BSkyB as currently constituted has excessive market power and needs a bit of reining-back."

I'm remarkably surprised and impressed by the comments:
* 1. At 12:06pm on 26 Mar 2010, copperDolomite wrote:
Banking, groceries and pay TV: do they cover the main ingredients for a thriving economy and the good society?

Well, if by good, you mean a society of over-fed, pigged-out, unhealthy, couch-potato, over-spenders who fail to think for themselves, what else is there?

Wouldn't have any of Murdoch's muck in my house, not even in the loo! And as for supermarkets they're only any good for frozen peas or soap powder
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* 2. At 12:09pm on 26 Mar 2010, copperDolomite wrote:
David Cameron, the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, and a nose ahead in the race to be Britain's next prime minister, has announced an intention to scale back Ofcom and take it out of what he described as "making policy".

Oh no - we're getting the vitriolic Fox then! Please, no, no, no, no.... He'll deregulate and we'll never have Attenborough. Right, the telly will have to go if he gets in and dares let Murdoch have any more of this country!
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* 3. At 12:21pm on 26 Mar 2010, Horned_Devil wrote:
As an (ex) employee of a business that used to operate on the Sky platform I understand how Sky's monopoly position is abused (in a slightly different area to the one mentioned above) and stifled innovation around the interactive TV market (which the UK was the world leader). I have no problems with them being run as a business but at certain times there needs to be a some control over Sky as a platform and Sky as a broadcaster
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* 4. At 12:36pm on 26 Mar 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:
Those with controlling market share use political influence to restrict is what captialism has always been. The development of media applications to computers and cell phones is simply a response for those wishing to get into markets that have become restricted by regulation and governmental patronage. Like the fossil fuel industry, alternatives will be developed because they have been shut out of any real resources for development and political interference. The big corporations and their taxes bind them to governments like a calf to a mother cow.
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* 5. At 12:42pm on 26 Mar 2010, desabled wrote:
IOam a sky subcriber and have every sympathy with points raised by Ofcom
one is left wonering whether nullifyingOfcom in traditional tory abdication of responsibility through deregulation will be added to conservatives splitting up the bbc in a the quid pro quoexisting between the Murdochs and David Cameron as a reward for tory bias in it's tv and printed media,lately they seemed to have suceeded inplacing at least a couple of moles in the beeb too!
Murdoch is disliked nearly as much i australia ,among ordinary folk as he is here his unbridled power is developing intomedia world domination which is why he hates the bbc, so much quality never was his strong suit
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* 6. At 1:09pm on 26 Mar 2010, lacplesis37 wrote:
Are you saying that Cameron is actually in Murdoch's pocket? Or will it just feel like that? Are you implying that the Tories decision to scale back Ofcom is in some way linked to Murdoch's subsequent decision to support the Conservatives? If so, perhaps - given all the stuff thrown at Blair about his Ecclestone connection - perhaps this should be consideered by the BBC as a more important newsworthy issue? For myself, I'd like to see much tougher rules on media ownership which prevents foreign owners (& non-residents) not just involving themselves in UK politics, but covering such a significant share of the market. Though I may not agree with the BBC, at least I know you are trying to be balanced & unbiassed - but the Murdoch media have no such inhibitions & let us say "mislead" their viewers/readers without scruple.

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