BT Chairman Bland Urges Move Into Broadcasting

07 January 2002

British Telecommunication could join the UK’s cable-TV industry as a broadcaster within two years, should plans by chairman Sir Christopher Bland come to fruition.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Bland said he thought BT could emulate NewsCorp-controlled digital market leader BSkyB.

“At one extreme, we can be a distributor of other people's programmes, just as the existing cable companies do,” he argued. “On the other extreme, we can build a fully integrated model like BSkyB, which makes and distributes its own programmes over its own and others’ networks and also distributes others’ content.”

The remarks come at a sensitive time, just one week before new chief executive Ben Verwaayen takes up his post, and are regarded by analysts as an attempt to stamp content provision firmly on BT’s agenda.

The telecoms giant has seen its subscriber base eroded by cable firms offering broadcast and internet services as well as telephone lines.

News source: Financial Times