Murdoch Denies Interest in British Terrestrial TV

12 November 2002

News Corporation will not be investing in Britain’s terrestrial television sector, judging by comments from boss Rupert Murdoch.

NewsCorp was tipped to make a bid for the smallest terrestrial channel, Five, once new communications legislation is passed.

However, Murdoch dismissed such speculation following last week’s release of quarterly earnings by satellite operator BSkyB, of which he is chairman [WAMN: 11-Nov-02].

“We are not interested in terrestrial,” he commented, before suggesting American media giant Viacom as the most likely candidate to enter the sector, possibly with a bid for number one commercial network ITV.

However, Viacom is ruling out any immediate move. Says chairman/ceo Sumner M Redstone: “We continue to be intrigued, but we have no plans for an acquisition of ITV – or any other UK broadcast asset – at the moment. But we’ll continue to monitor developments very closely. So, as they say in our business – stay tuned.”

• Separately, BSkyB announced it has added Jac Nasser, quondam ceo of Ford Motor Company, and Gail Rebuck, chief executive of publisher Random House, to its board as non-executive members.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff