‘Don’t Call us, We’ll Call You,’ BSkyB Tells Channel 5

13 May 2002

According to BSkyB, the UK satellite broadcaster controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, it has “no immediate plans” to bid for Channel 5 in the media consolidation free-for-all expected to follow the enactment this summer of the government’s Communications Bill [WAMN: 08-May-02].

The bill’s liberal largesse, although exceeding the wildest hopes of the media and investment industries, specifically excludes the likes of News Corporation from acquiring any terrestrial TV company other than Channel 5. But according to BSkyB chief executive Tony Ball, he is not salivating just yet, his main priority being the improvement of BSkyB’s sagging margins. But bargains would not be ruled out.

“The big prize for us at the moment is generating the margins that we had four years ago. If something came up outside of that, in a different part of the UK media business ... that made sense and offered value, then clearly we would look at that,” said Ball.

“Whether it is radio or free-to-air things that we will soon be allowed to be more involved with ... clearly there are things we could do with either of these mediums [sic] – cross-promotion or buying, ad sales – that make them interesting. But it is a function of price and there are no immediate plans at all,” he insisted.

Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff