BBC and Sky Compromise in Offing? Pair Meet Today

19 March 2003

The surprise decision by British state-owned broadcasting behemoth, the BBC, to switch its eight digital channels from Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB satellite platform to the new Astra 2D satellite [WAMN: 14-Mar-03], has resulted in much public posturing and even more backstage scurrying.

The withdrawal, which will reportedly deprive Sky of £85 million ($132.63m; €124.73m) in revenues over five years, has led to a meeting today (Wednesday) between the parties, although neither side will comment on the agenda.

According to BBC director general Greg Dyke, the satellite switch will not only save a substantial sum, it will also increase the coverage of BBC digital services from 75% to 100% of UK homes.

Among the topics for discussion at today’s eyeballing, the most likely is the BBC’s continuing presence on Sky's electronic programme guide, a privilege that costs £27,000 per year per channel, according to the BBC.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff