Brussels Gives BSkyB 'Bad Guy' Tag

13 May 2004

Rupert Murdoch's UK satellite television arm, BSkyB is "the bad guy" of broadcasting, the European Commission has said.

The accusation followed BSkyB's refusal to share the live television rights for the English soccer Premiership League with its rivals.

"If this was a film, BSkyB would play the role of the bad guy," a Commission spokeswoman said.

She indicated that the Commision would seek to prevent a similar situation occurring when the broadcaster's three year deal with the Premier League expires in 2007.

Last year BSkyB agreed with the EC to sub-license up to eight live games a season to other broadcasters.

However none of the bids it subsequently received matched the reserve price agreed with the Commission and the broadcaster effectively declared the deal was void.

The Commission's comments came as BSkyB announced pre-tax profits for the quarter ending 30 March had quadrupled to £155 million ($273m; €230m).

Earnings of £223m for the same period were lifted by advertising revenues which continued to outperform the market.

The company also announced an annual pay deal worth almost £1m a year for the operation's new chief executive James Murdoch.

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