LONDON: Archetypal war of attrition tactics were deployed with a vengeance by NewsCorp-controlled BSkyB against cable rival Virgin Media in this year's first half, according to the latest adspend data from Nielsen Media Research.

Sky's spending rose year-on-year by a massive forty per cent to around £70 million ($143.18m; €103.89m) as it strove to hammer Virgin into the ground - a tactic frequently and successfully used by News Corporation on earlier battlegrounds in the UK and elsewhere.

Virgin Media, by contrast, spent 'just' £37m. Given the rivals' respective balance sheets, it's a battle that only clan Murdoch can win.

Comments Starcom UK chairman Jim Marshall: "Ultimately this is a battle for the hearts and minds of ... the modern broadband converged viewer.

"What Sky and Virgin have each elected to do is to go into battle for this consumer and it inevitably costs to get your proposition over ... the question you have to ask is who has the longer-term appetite and deeper pockets for the battle."

His question is clearly rhetorical.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff