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Murdoch's London-based global news hub

Robert Peston | 08:42 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010

"You're not having BSkyB on the cheap."

Sky remote controlThat was the rather stark message that BSkyB's board gave to News Corporation this weekend, when it first offered 675p a share to buy the 61% of the company that it doesn't already own and then increased the offer to 700p - which would value the whole of Sky at £12.2bn.

BSkyB's board and its advisers believe the business is worth around £1bn more, or greater than 800p per share.

So what happens, now that BSkyB has rebuffed the initial bids?

Well, News Corporation will press ahead with the process of trying to buy Sky by initiating the process of having the European competition regulator scrutinise the deal.

One interesting question is whether British regulators, the Office of Fair Trading and Ofcom, and the British government will want to repatriate scrutiny of the deal, as they have the right to do.

Some may think David Cameron, the prime minister, will want to be a million miles from any adjudication on Sky's commercial ambitions, given that he was perceived to have benefited greatly during the general election campaign from the enthusiastic support he received from Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper.

But his Liberal Democrat partners, who have traditionally been critics of the media clout of Mr Murdoch, will be in something of a quandary.

Because they'll be aware that in media deals of this size and importance, the government has the right to intervene on public interest grounds.

Vince Cable, the business secretary, will probably not wish to be seen to be wimping out of having a voice on a takeover that would profoundly change the media landscape in the UK.

The takeover would erase any scintilla of doubt that Mr Murdoch's News Corporation would be the most powerful of all the traditional media groups in the UK. Only Google would perhaps be as influential.

The combination of Sky with his newspapers, such as the Sun and the Sunday Times, would generate annual revenues of around £8bn, compared with the £4.6bn income of the next largest player, the BBC.

For me, the fascinating aspect of it all would be in the news arena.

It would put Sky News together with Mr Murdoch's newspapers and - very importantly - his new venture in putting their online versions behind a so-called pay wall.

The opportunities for cross-promoting those newspapers on Sky will be seen by other newspaper groups as giving News Corporation a huge advantage.

And in a world where digital convergence is a reality, not blue-sky waffle, they'll also be fearful of the potential of marrying Sky's pay-TV platform with News Corporation's pay-for-news platform.

As for James Murdoch, the heir apparent to Rupert Murdoch, he would sit in the middle of a unique media hub located in London.

He would become arguably the single most powerful figure in European media, huge in pay TV - in the UK and Italy - and massive in news.

Update 11:30: The likelihood must be that eventually News Corporation and BSkyB will agree a price for the 61% of Sky that News Corporation doesn't yet own.

The tone of their statements this morning suggests an intent to marry.

More interesting therefore will be the attitude of regulators and politicians.

As it happens, British regulators - Ofcom and the OFT - already treat Sky as effectively controlled by News Corporation.

That's absolutely clear from their regulatory actions over the past few years.

So in theory the change to 100% ownership would not represent a hugely significant event for them.

But that's to ignore one important consequence of the deal: News Corporation would be able to get its mits on Sky's £1bn plus of annual EBITDA cash flow.

At a time of severe financial difficulties for most newspaper groups, access to all that cash would reinforce the market strength of News Corporation's formidable array of titles - notably the Sun, the Sunday Times, the Times and the News of the World.

Arguably therefore the competitive landscape in news would tilt further to the benefit of the Murdochs.

Maybe that won't be significant enough to worry regulators either in Brussels or the UK.

But, as I mentioned earlier, it will alarm some politicians - including those Lib Dems, now members of the government, who were horrified by how the Sun lampooned Nick Clegg in the closing stages of the election campaign (before Mr Clegg became the best chum of D Cameron, the Sun's preferred candidate to head the government).

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    No way this can be allowed. Murdoch is already too powerful and has too much say in the way the country is run. Newspapers and broadcasters should be banned from making overtly political statements or endorsements. They are there to report the news not to create it. A conglomerate of News International and Sky would dominate the media to such an extent that it would enable one company to control too much of the content of the airwaves and the presses.

  • Comment number 2.

    As indicated in the article the revenue stream is crucial. When peoples disposable income are squeezed will they still pay for Sky and the newspapers allowing an increase in News Corporations revenues to help fund the purchase?
    To quote our Rupert "monopolies are dreadful things until you own one."

  • Comment number 3.

    It is just as well that the full Sky takeover by Rupert Murdoch's global empire has been rebuffed on price as it would result in a flagrant and obvious increase in market dominance and would have been blocked under the previous Government's management. It does however raise the very serious question: was a private deal done before the election between Rupert Murdoch and the Tory party?

    The sort of deal might have been we will support you (The Tory Party) if you let us takeover Sky, Virgin Media etc. (Of course after he was forced to sell his stake in ITV.) If this happened it is a disgrace and shameful abuse of the British People. I can't help wondering however if a deal was done because of quite obvious haste Rupert Murdoch has moved to take Sky fully back into his control. I do hope I am wrong, but I have nagging doubts!

    Perhaps the best thing would be to see Rupert Murdoch's empire forced to sell its stake in Sky because of his monopoly position and excessive media market dominance. If this was to happen I would be proved wrong about my suspicions and that would be very pleasing and positive for the country's democracy and recognise that Rupert Murdoch's media empire was taking and recognising its proper role in our democracy.

  • Comment number 4.

    I cant see the regulators and the competition commission putting this deal through. This deal is all about strengthening a monopoly that is already in existence. Classic example of big conglomerates attempting to consolidate power.

  • Comment number 5.

    Call me cynical but Murdoch will succeed in taking over Sky. I also suspect he will try to buy Channel 5.

    This will be the pay back for the support his media outlets gave Cameron during the election.

    One of the other promises extracted by Murdoch will be for the Government to reduce or cut back on the reach of the BBC (e.g. sell off of BBC World).

    I do not agree with any of this I am just making predictions based on Murdoch's past behaviour and the desire of politicians to keep him happy.

  • Comment number 6.

    I wonder if this will mean that Murdoch will have to pay tax here for a change.

  • Comment number 7.

    It would be an absolute disgrace if this happened . While the government is trying to stir competition in other areas like energy , airports , banking etc , are they going to allow Murdoch to create a monopoly in media ?
    IF THE TORIES BELIEVE IN A FREE MARKET IT'S ABOUT TIME THEY PUT THEIR MONEY WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS !!

  • Comment number 8.

    3. At 09:33am on 15 Jun 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:
    Perhaps the best thing would be to see Rupert Murdoch's empire forced to sell its stake in Sky because of his monopoly position and excessive media market dominance.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Perhaps that is the real agenda. Then big privatised chunks of the BBC could become parts of News International.

  • Comment number 9.

    Let him buy everything and get choked on it. His failure is inevitable.

  • Comment number 10.

    This much media power in one person's hands??? What's not to be profoundly concerned about?

    Sadly the media works on the basis that Human's in general don't know their own minds (and many do appear to be this way,) and are happy to "fill in the blanks," so's to speak.

    We allow "Murdochisation" at our peril.

  • Comment number 11.

    Murdoch already styles himself as an Emperor. Indeed, a brief pre-election audience with the media king is now as obligatory as the post-election chat with the queen.

    Having enjoyed the comforts of Labour patronage during the Blair years, prior to it all turning sour. The Conservatives might deem it wiser to leave the matter to the European regulator. After all, just how much more Europhobic rhetoric can 'The Sun' spew out?

    On the plus side it might slap the BBC back in to place alongside ITV in the domestic league. Already the BBC enjoys aping a commercial entity in publicly funded clothing. No doubt they would seek to capitalise, styling themselves as media opposition. Which would bolster their bid to fight off cuts and continue to expand.

    We don't need a state sponsored pseudo-competitor of the lowest common denominator. We need to enable the potential for true commercial rivals, though given Murdoch dominance this would be no mean feat.

  • Comment number 12.

    If Murdoch is all powerful why can't he repair my TV bought with the Sky offer. It's been over a month.

  • Comment number 13.

    Cassandra #5 is right, it is now pay back time for Cameron.

    The BBC will be restricted so that its superior product does not compete with Sky's.

  • Comment number 14.

    The various News Corp media already shamelessly cross-promote.

    Especially through the Sun & News of the World publicising and promoting Sky programmes by way of odd sentences in news reports, features and editorials.

    It only takes a brief trip to see how Fox News in the USA constantly takes up ultra-conservative viewpoints to visualise a future where the Murdoch message and attitudes come to dominate and shape the views of a significant group of UK voters. Significant because that readership are more likely to be people for whom politics matters just once every five years.

    News Corp can withstand any reduction in disposable incomes because they can simply trim the margins in one area wherein they then promote the others even harder. It won't take more than a few percentage point rises on charges for pay per view channels to make up the difference.

    The last government attempted to use OFCOM to rein Murdoch back - if the new team trim OFCOM's powers in any way this will be seen as a victory for Rupert. He desperately wants to hang onto his stake and influence in ITV and if he loses it yes, he may well look to take over another terrestrial 'free to air' channel on which he can once again cross-promote to his other interests.


  • Comment number 15.

    What do you expect - free enterprise and free markets - get real this is modern capitalism at its core. Sinister is a euphemism for where things are headed.

  • Comment number 16.

    I wonder how many people will be told "your pension will suffer if this merger doesn't go ahead" - as seems to be common these days.

    Still, I don't know why we're even bothering with this one - I mean it's going to happen as surely it's the 'reward' for Murdoch for his media supporting Cameron in the election.

    ...or did you think that was the 'old school of politics' - nothing changes, nothing gets better, the few are still controlling the many.

  • Comment number 17.

    I, for example, come here only to read the comments by the readers rather than the opinions provided by the BBC.

    So the BBC better get more cutting edge as it might indeed get swallowed by murdochisation of the media.

    And for those who voted for the Tories/Murdoch - I thank you ... not.

  • Comment number 18.

    How is this going to benefit the consumer?

    This is all about creating a monopoly which is in nobody's interest other than the owners.

    It will also be funded by cheap money expropriated from the saver at below inflation interest rates.

  • Comment number 19.

    News reporting by the highest bidder. I just hope the newsmen and women choose their journalistic ethics over pay - although everybody has their price (especially when were are in such a dire ecconomic climate)

  • Comment number 20.

    This is the last thing we need - we have to be tough on Londoncentricity, and the causes of Londoncentricity.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sky is a brilliant concept, marred by the ever present right wing Murdoch family. If you have ever tried to watch more than five minutes of television in Berlusconi's Italy you can see the results of untrammelled privately run TV. Giving the Murdoch's complete control of Sky, given their negative attitude towards our own BBC, would be in my view a big step on the slippery slope towards the disaster which is TV in the United States and Italy!

  • Comment number 22.

    I for one didn't realise that Murdoch didn't own all of BSkyB. I think most people were under the same impression for that matter.

    Despite not owning all of it, you certainly got the feeling that Murdoch's empire pulled the strings at BSkyB. In which case I think a mountain is being made out of a molehill here. News' takeover isn't going to make such a big difference operationally in the short term at least.

    As for charging users for Sky News content, I don't see that happening at all because removing the free-to-air element of it would reduce viewership because BBC News 24 is free and Sky's non-subscribing viewers (i.e. Freeview viewers) would migrate over.

    The impact that Murdoch's influence over the BBC would be in terms of BBC world would be negligible. It would be the equivalent of killing the golden goose. BBC world generates large profits and is a growing organisation. It is this profitability that keeps the TV licence lower and enables the BBC to keep public service broadcasting as high as possible.

    It is likely that the main area of content that they (as per most media outlets have clamoured for) would push to curb would be the BBC website which is probably best in class globally (from a free to use perspective) and currently impossible to compete with (itv.com anyone?! ha ha). This makes it an unfair market in a sense. I love the BBC website but as the internet becomes more regulated you can see the unfair advantage it has - it is sort of inevitable that the amount of free content is cut back.

    Better that than BBC show commercials on TV and radio. Just wish all of the World Cup was live on the BBC - no car adverts to interrupt the sole moment of joy from Saturday's game vs USA.

  • Comment number 23.

    Of course this will be allowed to go through. Mr Murdoch will be calling in a few favours for his support in the run up to the general election. If the competition commission don't come out with what Cameron and Murdoch want to hear it will probably be broken up. Once all is gone through the BBC will be the next target for his empire (well the bits he can buy on the cheap anyway!)

  • Comment number 24.

    Perhaps it would be better Robert to give a run down on how this would be funded ???

  • Comment number 25.

    Appears that Mr Cameron is in a sticking situation, he lets our regulators deal with this and potentially annoys Murdoch, or he leaves it to Europe (remember him saying many times that Europe has far too much influence over our affairs), potentially annoying the electorate. I'll bet my house he goes for the latter.

  • Comment number 26.

    So far the record of having press barons is not good, here or abroad. And it does bring up an interesting debate for the politicians, which comes down to both the yes or no answer are loaded.

    This is more damaging to the government than the economy ...... we shall see eh?

    Is it time to mention a film here? 30's Black and white? On this subject?

  • Comment number 27.

    Greed is a pretty repulsive characteristic. Murdoch may be the Billy Bunter of the media, but, like the Fat Owl of the Remove, he can only succeed if friends to help him.
    He may choose to try and manipulate the way we think, but ultimately no-one owns our intelligence but ourselves.

  • Comment number 28.

    Only we the consumers can beat Murdoch.

    Do you pay for any of his services? If yes, cancel them all. You will save money and do everyone a favour.

    BOIKOT!

  • Comment number 29.

    I have never watched SKY news, though it is part of my Virgin media package.Maybe it's just my own paranoia, but I don't feel I can trust it. Perhaps that's the Murdoch affect.

  • Comment number 30.

    Well this is a classic situation of I scratch your back(cameroon) you scratch my back(Murdockly).
    The deal will go through and we will see and hear more rubish coming out of a media that thrives and makes millions on peoples ignorance

  • Comment number 31.

    P.S. how is it possible that a non Brit can own soooo much media in the first place surely their views are really not in our interests?

  • Comment number 32.

    A wicked thought - If Richard Branson or another large media group offered to buy the shares in BSkyB not owned by Murdoch for significantly more, that would put the cat among the pigeons.....

    Rupert or his minions would be on the phone to Cameron in seconds demanding that the Competition Commission block it!

  • Comment number 33.

    Who cares, It's not as if any of them tell the truth anyway

  • Comment number 34.

    I wrote a paper late last year that suggested if the Tories got in, Murdoch would become even more powerful and the more powerful he became (and the longer the Tories were in), the more damage he would do to public service broadcasting in the UK. It's a little known fact that he was one of the first visitors to Cameron at number 10 - ushered up the back stairs, out of sight, I believe. Looks like it's time to pay the piper. It will be a sad day if we end up with a BBC that's like Fox News. I'm sure he will end up owning chunks of the BBC before long. No doubt, a deal was done. In fact, isn't one of Cameron's advisers an ex-Sky/Newscorp exec?

    #2 - your comment about money/income being squeezed and less people maybe paying for TV etc. such as Sky. I hate to tell you this but in research for a radio programme I put together last year (I am not BBC by the way - I am an independent over in Ireland) it transpired that people were prepared to give up all sorts of other stuff (e.g. life insurance premiums, savings, treats, etc.) before they gave up having their pay TV and internet connections if times got tougher.

  • Comment number 35.

    At least a our questions will be answered about just how powerful is Mr Murdoch?
    If the deal passes the European competition regulator, or even the British regulator, or the Office of Fair Trading, or Ofcom, or the British government etc etc then thats that as far as the media goes. All bow down to Captain Murdoch.

  • Comment number 36.

    Ever been to USA?

    Ever seen Fox "News"? (owned by Murdoch)

    Ever wondered why (not all, but enough) Americans are totally uninformed, (some) a little bit rascist and (too many) think that Sarah Palin walks on water - and has a clue?

    Let Murdoch take over Sky completely and you'll quickly learn.

  • Comment number 37.

    At least I get a choice on whether or not to subscribe to Sky (which I don't) - I wish it was the same with the BBC

  • Comment number 38.

    I cannot get greatly exercised about whether Rupert Murdoch buys BSkyB, one does not have to subscribe to Sky Tv or buy his newspapers. He lives in the commercial dog eat dog world, it should be his choice if he wants to pay out the other shareholders to buy their shares.

    Unlike the BBC when we can get a criminal record if we do not buy a TV licence, the staffers get nice fat salaries and gold plated pensions (and we have no say if the BBC managers pay some 'stars' 18 million pound contracts using our licence fee money) Unlike the BBC licence fee no one gives a damn if you don't pay for a Sky subscription.

    Having said that , on balance the BBC is not too bad - especially Pestons blogs where we get a chance to let off steam!

  • Comment number 39.

    Correct me - but aren't any versions of Sky and News International and Murdoch et al ALL the same people with corporate layers/legal/contract/tax definitions?

  • Comment number 40.

    The usual communists are out in force here. This is just one of a number of changes that will benefit the uk in the next few years- reduced public sector pay, public sector pensions, reductions in public sector employment, cuts in spending on education and the ridiculous over-regulation of people's safety and rights.

    Well done, David Cameron- we're marching into a better future.

  • Comment number 41.

    Murdoch and David Cameron will mess with the BBC at their peril?

  • Comment number 42.

    back to agreeing with WOTW again today, Cameron is not going to bite the hand that feeds him and if he hasn't realised already, there is no such thing as a free lunch in the capitalist world. Although i would wish to agree with Ed Dixon opinion that "Newspapers and broadcasters should be banned from making overtly political statements or endorsements" there is a principle of allowing free speach.
    its almost as irritating to read RP having to say "given that he was PERCIEVED to have benefited greatly during the general election campaign from the enthusiastic support he received from Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper" as to have read the Sun in their support of the front runner who also seemed most lenient regarding ofcom in the first place. A so called newspaper should be the one who wot won the general election

    Many people do believe News international already cross subsidise to protect thei market, e.g. proprty magazines being able to offer space in the times at very favourable rates.

  • Comment number 43.

    This all sounds somewhat dodgy to me Robert. I think because of the dangers of insider trading in this case which have been highlighted by the FT it should be investigated by the FSA.
    I know that you have a lot of faith in the FSA as you said so only yesterday but the rest of us will wonder where is it on issues like this?

  • Comment number 44.

    The OFT should have stepped in long ago to compel a split of BSkyB between the distribution channel and the content provider.

    Here, there is an opportunity for the Government to right the wrong.

    Approve Murdoch's takeover, but only if he immediately sells off one of the arms of the business.

  • Comment number 45.

    #40 "The usual communists are out in force here. This is just one of a number of changes that will benefit the uk in the next few years- reduced public sector pay, public sector pensions, reductions in public sector employment, cuts in spending on education and the ridiculous over-regulation of people's safety and rights.

    Well done, David Cameron- we're marching into a better future."

    I'm not a communist for being worried about an individual who owns a monopoly and has extraordinary powers to pump whatever views and ideas he believes through the television using sky news as vehicle to do so. Not only does he exert major influence through his daily tabloids which the masses read and but he also thinks for them. Ever heard of the saying 'If everybody is thinking the same thing, nobody is thinking for themselves', whatever Rupert Murdoch believes the masses will undoubtably end up thinking it also. This is the first step to majority apathy and a new era of fox news uk which can manipulate government policy for the wrong reasons. I'm extremely concerned.

  • Comment number 46.

    One issue may be that at present Sky News appears to be relatively impartial, unlike its transatlantic partner, Fox News.

    The risk is that we may get our own versions of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity over here and thus a descent of news into opinion tinged with reality should Sky become a 100% News Corp subsidiary.

    Now this is something that should be resisted at all costs as this would mean that pure, objective news would run the risk of disappearing from our screens as the BBC and Channel 4 shifted further to the left to counterbalance Sky's shift to the right.

  • Comment number 47.

    I for one do not want to see someone like Murdoch with too big a share of the media. However, comments such as (1) from Ed Dixon I find deeply disturbing. It saddens me that anyone could think the answer to any issue of this kind was censorship. Shame on you.

  • Comment number 48.

    Damn!....I wished I bought a load of BSkyB shares yesterday.

    I certainly won't be paying for access to Timesonline btw.
    The business model for an internet news provider charging (via a paywall) to prop up an ailing news print publisher is bonkers!

    It's an ideal opportunity for some one to set up an on-line ONLY news provider generating all its income from ads (I think the Huff Post is along the same lines if not mistaken)

    Looks like it'll be Al Jazeera News and Spiegel Online for news content in the meantime.

    OH....AND DON@t FORGET TO CANCEL YOUR SKY SUBSCRIPTION...YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE!
    (There's plenty of freeview channels available now anyway)

    ...and if there's a match on SKY you want to see....just watch it down your local pub....they'll probably be showing it on a hookey Sky channel off the internet anyway!

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm not sure how you can equate opposition to these takeovers as to being a communist? However, the media being gobbled up by one or two "barons" gives the owners a better ability to manipulate public opinion. It means that even seemingly innocuous stories between elections can then be given the required spin, to slant public opinion without the opportunity for a more balanced view. To me, this is an anathema. Not only that, it reminds me of communism and fascism.

  • Comment number 50.

    I don’t care what anyone says – if I have a choice as to where I get trustworthy news and quality entertainment content, NewsCorp or the BBC – then it’s the BBC all day long.

    I do not trust Mr Murdoch and his media empire. It has been set up to benefit the Murdoch family and their investors only.

    The NewsCorp’s political reporting is already highly biased and will never report negatively when its wide commercial interests are threatened.

    You can leave a comment on these pages criticising the BBC to high heaven – ever tried criticising The Sun on their website? I have, on several occasions and my comments never see the light of day.

    The BBC ain’t perfect, but compared to the Orwellian nightmare that NewsCorp is becoming, it’s the most trustworthy and unbiased broadcaster we’ve got.

    And you’ve got to be plain stooped to pay time and again for all this NewsCorp content. What other broadcaster forces you to pay handsomely for its content and then gives you approximately 40% of that content as advertisements?

    But regrettably, too many people feel that it’s essential to have 24 hour-Simpsons and football beamed into their homes.

    Murdoch will get what he wants, of course, that’s the way that the rich and powerful distort our alleged democracy. Cameron will bend over backwards to accommodate him, with one eye on the next general election.

    I’m very worried that two of this country’s great institutions – the NHS and the BBC – are at grave risk with this Con-Dem government.

  • Comment number 51.

    45

    Totally agree. Surely us resisting attempts of one man to control such a huge slice of the media makes us the exact opposite of 'communists'.

  • Comment number 52.

    I don't know what all the big hoo haa is here...

    Murdoch owned all of Sky previously, he sold some shares before and now he wants to buy them back.

    Regarding the concerns about NewsCorp controlling too much, well isn't Murdoch's son running Sky anyway? Aren't other family members involved in Sky's programming suppliers? This acquisition won't make a significant material change.

  • Comment number 53.

    @40 - If a state monopoly is communist , the same would apply for a PRIVATE monopoly . And a media monopoly is extremely dangerous , much more so than in any other sector of the economy . As to the why , I trust you can work it out for yourself .

  • Comment number 54.

    47. At 2:21pm on 15 Jun 2010, felixtzu wrote:

    "I for one do not want to see someone like Murdoch with too big a share of the media. However, comments such as (1) from Ed Dixon I find deeply disturbing. It saddens me that anyone could think the answer to any issue of this kind was censorship. Shame on you".

    Felix, I am in full agreement with Ed Dixon. I dont trust Murdoch to do the right thing and never will. I have felt so strongly about this that I decided long ago never to give the man a single penny for any of his products. Newspaper readership is dying out anyway and as DebtJuggler suggests (#48) If you want to watch a match "...just watch it down your local pub..."

  • Comment number 55.

    "The combination of Sky with his newspapers, such as the Sun and the Sunday Times, would generate annual revenues of around £8bn, compared with the £4.6bn income of the next largest player, the BBC."
    And yet Murdoch has been whining that the BBC is too big. God forbid he should apply that logic to his own holdings.

  • Comment number 56.

    Bluebaldee (#50) Spot on my friend!

    I support the BBC wholeheartedly and enjoy the fact that the Beeb patently irks Murdoch so much. He just hates the fact that we get great value and he has absolutely no contol over it. Hopefully the fact that he never will must cause him some sleepless nights!

    Murdoch has never had a penny from me - I'd rather torch my money than subscribe to the dross that he peddles.

  • Comment number 57.

    40. At 1:25pm on 15 Jun 2010, potatolord wrote:

    "The usual communists are out in force here. This is just one of a number of changes that will benefit the uk in the next few years- reduced public sector pay, public sector pensions, reductions in public sector employment, cuts in spending on education and the ridiculous over-regulation of people's safety and rights.

    Well done, David Cameron- we're marching into a better future."



    ...and his first success? - creating a new QUANGO and sticking a title of "the office of budget responsibility" on it.

    Yes well done Mr Cameron, you have actually increased the number of unelected bodies being funded by the taxpayer - the opposite of what you promised - and still potatolord will continue to vote for you.

    ....next time promise something more extraordinary - like the moon in a pie.

  • Comment number 58.

    Doesn't worry me as I will never buy anything off Murdoch's empire - its all low quality propaganda after all.

  • Comment number 59.

    50 Bluebaldee

    I would not like to be your priest hearing your confession

    `...ever tried criticising The Sun on their website? I have, on several occasions and my comments never see the light of day.'

    My dear chap you are flirting with the very devil. Call the Diocesan Excorcist immediately!

    But then on the other hand it might be those long words you use are causing confusion. The average Sun reader would reach for the dictionary only they can't spell it.

    I have been boycotting Murdoch for years. There was only one I boycotted for longer and that was Captain Bob but that was because my Dad hated him, personally. Sadly Dad died just before Bob took up swimming in the ocean.

    I do find it very odd that there are some on here alleging dark deeds with Cameron. They need to be reminded that Cameron did not win the election even though Brown lost it. Cameron is very aware of that simple fact and he wants to be Prime Minister for a long time. I would be very surprised if there were any such sordid deals from this government. I know we are used to the idea but it is a party majority in the Commons which usually causes dirty dramas in No 10. This time there ain't one.

  • Comment number 60.

    I wonder how many anti-Murdoch posters here actually have Sky contracts?

  • Comment number 61.


    Murdoch's press put the current government in power.
    They now want payback.

    The government are in a position to reduce the "free" news output of the BBC.
    Murdoch wants us to pay for news and this will now be very profitable

  • Comment number 62.

    No democracy can function without an independent media.

    Guess what may be purchased - The best democracy mone can buy?

  • Comment number 63.

    "40. At 1:25pm on 15 Jun 2010, potatolord wrote:
    The usual communists are out in force here. This is just one of a number of changes that will benefit the uk in the next few years- reduced public sector pay, public sector pensions, reductions in public sector employment, cuts in spending on education and the ridiculous over-regulation of people's safety and rights.

    Well done, David Cameron- we're marching into a better future."
    So the public sector is a waste of money, and no where as good at providing services as the private sector, afterall it doesn't make a profit, and with a few minor exceptions, doesn't pay a bonus based on performance. So I guess the banking sector in your view would be a much better model,with less regulation rather than more,and is the way forward. Of course we can rely on the shareholders and the board to make sure the business is not taking excessive risks. Oh sorry, I didn't realise you were asleep the last 3 years. As WOTW says "there's one born every minute".

  • Comment number 64.

    The Burlesquconification of England, (sorry but I couldnt resist that)... so why bother with TV and newspapers anyway? I find I can do much better for entertainment and news with a good monitor and DSL. That is all except for the BBC.... they are really SLOW and often their clips dont come down at all, unlike say for example 'DemocracyNow.org' which is a tiny little organisation and they are super fast.

  • Comment number 65.

    Sorry to say but I think this will get past whatever regulator gets involved - there is still viable competition in both print and TV even with this takeover so I think its going to happen.

    Of course, you could always boycott his 'evil empire' but that might require some sacrifices (eh?)

    Of course we also have the state sponsored monopoly position of the BBC - I define it as a monopoly because you have to pay a TV licence to fund it - if you don't you are breaking a law even though you might not even watch BBC. Maybe we should merge it with ITV then there would be two giants?

  • Comment number 66.

    All entertaining stuff, but to put it in Sun language - BBC good, Murdoch bad. Quality news - free - good, biased garbage - charged for - bad. Just vote with your cheque book, or card, or Direct Debit....

  • Comment number 67.

    One phrase covers this situation - He who funds the political campaign calls the tune with that political party. Which in this case is totally against the consumer or public interest so much for democracy.

  • Comment number 68.

    If I want to set up a TV station in competition with Sky, what is stopping me ? That would be Ofcom. If I want to start an independently financed radio station what is stopping me, Ofcom again.
    There is a myriad of spectra available to emergent broadcasters, more so since the analog switch off.
    What is the barrier to entry into the UK broadcast market ? Ofcom.

    Let Rupert buy an overpriced BSB, let him pump his overpriced product all over europe, free up the licensing, give anybody and everybody the freedom to broadcast on alotted frequencies and open up this closed system to some real free market economics.



  • Comment number 69.

    And while the battle for SKY continues, today seems to mark the end of Times Online. No more 'free news'.

    The question is, will other news providers follow? Like many people, I like to look at the news on various websites. If they all charged a fee, it would work out very expensive.

    While the BBC offers an online news service, no doubt Mr Murdoch will continue to complain that the BBC is too big.

    All the more reason for the BBC to continue offering its news online without subscription. If anything, they should expand the service

  • Comment number 70.

    The quality of BBC programmes is second to none, they have been producing quality drama. I live in Canada now and the TV stations are very poor with loads of adverts and its so terrible I have stopped watching it.
    Good drama costs a lot of money to produce, BSB or Sky for that matter is about selling product with material that is very biased one way.
    Can you ever imagine them producing quality tv like Morse, Frost, Hornblower etc?
    I like CSI, Criminal Minds,House, now that is good drama so we have some good programmes here.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    Another story about big business/media and the rich and famous. How about some more coverage of SMEs, various domestic market sectors, construction for example. You know, the individuals who will drive us out of this mess!

  • Comment number 73.

    Are people really going to pay for news that is available free online or on TV?

    It will be interesting to see how the newspapers who have recently put up a 'paywall' fare in the next year.

  • Comment number 74.

    TooBigToFail

    Anyone with 2 sentient brain cells can see this should not be allowed.
    This is a drive for monopoly in anyone's book.

    Split 'em all up again. Way too few print and broadcast operators. It is going to take a decade for the independent broadband sector to come up with viable competition to this monster.

    Maybe Murdoch is just hedging against the failure of his pay-model for Times Online. (or that will be his claim)

    Regards,


  • Comment number 75.

    No doubt all the paranoid right wing "Beeb is biased" mob will be rooting for rupert and his particular brand of "quality" programming....wonder what Dave's promised him?

  • Comment number 76.

    Anyone seen the new Times website.......

    I have.........once!

    And I used to look at it umpteen times a day.

    Now I think....... stuff 'em!

    Now if I was an advertiser,or an ad agency, I would be demanding a hefty reduction in the amount the Times charges for its ads, as hardly anyone will be reading them now.

    What is that going to do for revenue?

    Murdoch is looking like King Canute!

  • Comment number 77.

    Absolutely agree that Mr Murdoch s encroachments on the Media of this country are most unwelcome. I find it very difficult to imagine that Mr Cameron will have the courage to stop Rupert Murdoch, that is if David Cameron has in fact any courage

 

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