Sky Employs Divide And Conquer Tactics

01 July 1998

Following BSkyB's failure to persuade ITV to shell-out mucho cash for the privilege of filling some of the satellite broadcaster's two hundred echoingly empty digital channels, Rupe's troops are attempting the hoary 'divide and conquer' tactic on individual members of the independent network. ITV's two largest companies, Carlton and Granada, are out of the frame as co-owners of Sky's main rival, ONdigital, for which ITV has exclusively reserved its programme output; but Sky sees United News & Media, Scottish Media and the smaller independents as the thin end of the ITV wedge. It hopes to persuade them to break ranks by dangling carrots festooned with pound signs which purport to prove that not climbing into bed with Sky will cost ITV as a whole £350m over ten years. Sky's claim was subsequently pooh-poohed by an ITV spokesman, who countered: 'In order to come up with any figure of that kind they have to make assumptions about how digital, terrestrial and satellite are going to pan out over the next ten years.'