Friday, April 27, 2012

It gets worse - broadcasting

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian 26th. April:

"... here's a reminder of what Hunt was about to unleash on the country, with Cameron and George Osborne's approval. If Murdoch were allowed to own all BSkyB, within a year or two he would package all his newspapers on subscription or online together with his movie and sports channels in offers consumers could hardly refuse, at loss-leading prices. Other news providers, including this one, would be driven out, or reduced to a husk. His would be the commanding news voice. Except for the BBC – which his media have attacked relentlessly for years.
Sky's dominance over the BBC is already looming: now past its investment phase, Sky's income is multiplying fast at £5.5bn a year, against the BBC's static £3.5bn. Sky's growing billions can buy everything, not only sports and movies, but every best series: the BBC trains and develops talent, predatory Sky will snatch it. Nor is Sky that good for the Treasury: for every £1 in Sky subscriptions, 90p flees the country, straight to News Corp and Hollywood in the US.
The BBC is remarkable value for money: Sky subscribers can pay £500 a year, the licence fee is £145 for masses more content. Sky is parasitic, as its own subscribers watch many more hours of BBC than Sky, so Sky would collapse if the BBC denied it its channels. Yet the BBC still pays £5m a year for appearing on its platform, a deal struck by Thatcher to help Murdoch.
The sum was cut, but in all other countries commercial broadcasters pay national broadcasters for the right to use their content – not the other way round. The BBC should be paid a hefty fee from BSkyB to compensate for the 16% cut it suffered, partly as a result of Murdoch lobbying. The cut was pure spite, since the licence fee has no connection with Treasury deficits. Pressure persists to deprive viewers of listed national events saved to watch free on BBC: Wimbledon and the rest would go the way of Premier League football ...."

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