British media stocks got a sorely needed shot in the arm Wednesday morning as the markets, having masticated the contents of the government’s Communications Bill [WAMN: 08-May-02], burped contentedly and sent share prices skyward.
The sweeping reforms are expected to spawn a media regime that is the most liberal in the world – music to the ears of Carlton Communications, Granada Media, a certain Australian-American media magnate and, of course, the City of London’s money manipulators.
By 12.45 BST Wednesday, Carlton shares had gained 16.75p to £2.6975 ($3.94; €4.33); Granada +8.25p (to £1.3525); while Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB, which is now free to acquire all or part of terrestrial Channel 5 if it deigns, leapt highest by 27.5p to £7.585.
Frenzied entrail-rakers were spraying their crystal balls with Windowlene as they predicted that the nation’s seven major commercial TV players (Carlton, Granada, Channel 4, Channel 5, BSkyB, NTL and Telewest) will be reduced to three or four before you could say ‘put option’.
Commercial radio stock prices also soared Wednesday morning as the money men calculated their upcoming windfalls thanks to the bill’s removal of radio ownership restrictions. Capital Radio, thought most likely to benefit from the free-for-all, saw its shares rise by almost 9% to £8.55 in the first three hours of trading.
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff