BSkyB says it is a 'fit and proper' licence holder

James and Rupert Murdoch James and Rupert Murdoch both gave evidence to the Commons media committee

BSkyB says it remains a "fit and proper" holder of a broadcasting licence.

The satellite broadcaster said it was engaging with the regulator Ofcom in its assessment of BSkyB's suitability.

Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation owns 39% of BSkyB, has sent an email to staff saying the business will be "better and stronger" following the phone-hacking scandal.

BSkyB also announced a rise in customer numbers of 78,000 to 10.5 million.

The company's "fitness" to hold a broadcasting licence had been questioned as a result of the phone hacking scandal at News of the World and other newspapers owned by News Corporation.

The Liberal Democrats wrote to Ofcom on Tuesday urging it to hasten its review, but the BBC understands that the regulator will not be rushed into a knee-jerk reaction.

On Tuesday, the Commons media committee concluded that Mr Murdoch was "not a fit person" to run a major international business, although four of the 10 committee members disagreed, as the MPs split on party lines.

In his email to staff, Mr Murdoch said the committee's findings were "hard to read" but he was proud News Corp had worked to put things right.

Start Quote

We don't believe it's too late to turn News Corp around, but the company needs to act now to make real and substantive changes to start this process”

End Quote Julie Tanner Christian Brothers Investment Services.

BSkyB, meanwhile, used its trading statement to point to its "positive contribution to UK audiences, employment and the broader economy, as well as its strong record of regulatory compliance and high standards of governance".

Price freeze

BSkyB's operating profit for the nine months to the end of March came in at £939m, up 25% from the same period last year.

Its average revenue per user (ARPU) was £546 in the first three months of the year, which was up £9 from the same stage last year.

BSkyB said: "The impact of this year's price freeze [was] more than offset by our success in selling our home communications products to new and existing customers."

"The decision to focus our marketing on home communications has paid off with our fastest quarter of growth since launch and confirmation that Sky is now Britain's favourite triple play provider," said chief executive Jeremy Darroch.

John Ryley, head of Sky News The head of Sky News, John Ryley, talked about email hacking at the Leveson Inquiry

Triple play customers buy their television, telephone and broadband services from the same provider.

BSkyB has 3.2 million such customers, up 24% from the same period last year.

The churn rate, which is the proportion of customers who left Sky during the period, was an annualised 10.1% - down from 10.4% at the same time last year.

Editorial investigations

In its statement, Sky said it had concluded a review of the editorial practices at Sky News and had "found no evidence of impropriety or cause for concern".

Fit and proper?

  • Under the Broadcasting Act 1990, Ofcom has to ensure holders of broadcasting licences are fit and proper.
  • No guidance is given in the act as to what that means.
  • Ofcom says it will "take into account any relevant misconduct".

It has also reviewed two cases referred to by John Ryley, head of Sky News, at the Leveson Inquiry, in which a Sky News journalist accessed the emails of people suspected of criminal activity.

Sky said it had concluded that "the action was justified in the public interest and subject to proper editorial oversight".

Ofcom is investigating the hacking of the emails of the so-called canoe man John Darwin and of a convicted paedophile, Martin Smith.

Rupert Murdoch's son, James, stepped down as chairman of BSkyB on 3 April and was replaced by Nicholas Ferguson.

Independent chair

A US institutional investor in News Corporation has called for Rupert Murdoch's role as chairman and chief executive to be split and for an independent chairman to be appointed.

"We don't believe it's too late to turn News Corp around, but the company needs to act now to make real and substantive changes to start this process," said Julie Tanner, assistant director of socially responsible investing at Christian Brothers Investment Services.

"These scandals will have a long-lasting impact on News Corp's reputation, but by appointing an independent chair and seating independent board members, the company could begin the process of re-establishing public trust.

"Short of these measures, these scandals will continue to cloud the company and its stock for the foreseeable future."

Christian Brothers filed a resolution at the company's annual meeting calling for an independent chairman to be appointed.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Good Heavens! The Rabid Left are out in force on HYS this morning. What's up? Distraught because you've realised that no matter how much you foam and bluster with your recycling of Grauniad rubbish News International will continue to be the massively successful, profitable multinational business it has always been?

    The 'Permanently Indignant' will lose as they deserve to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Bored with this now. Further comment would just perpetuate the myth that this is important.
    We are a trillion pound in debt - that is important.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    Darren Shepherd....when you have actually obtained any form of intelligence please let us know until then get off forums and stop spouting your inane drivel

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    re 49. Excessive media power.
    The BBC with their 'Guardian type' agenda loathe Murdoch because he threatens their hegemony in the UK.
    But the answer is not to allow Murdoch to debase the medium further with a Fox News type channel in the UK, but to rein the BBC in by making their various TV streams into subscriptional channels e.g BBC News&Current Affairs, BBC Light Entertainment, BBC Sport,etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Murdoch is far from perfect but being called unfit to run a business by a bunch of politicians who've bankrupted the UK should be taken as a compliment!

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    I don't have Sky as I would not give a penny of my hard earned cash to the Murdoch's as I believe television is for all and not just those who can afford to pay for all sorts of channels

    Unfortunately the world is not one big charity where you get everything for free! We moan about the cost of the BBC license, so now they can't afford to show sport, opening the door for SKY. Oops

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    There now needs to be an enquiry into the BBC's saturation coverage of the whole thing.
    I am not pro-Murdoch, or defending them.

    But the BBC has once again shown why it is not fit for purpose.

    If it was really interested in corruption, it would have covered the MPs' expenses and the Tory links with developers in this kind of detail, but it didn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Total no story for most people.

    Try telling the hundreds of thousands of sky football lovers that a few MP's have got upset with Murdoch!

    This has to be the most pointless and dull story for a very long time.

  • Comment number 70.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    22 is correct. There is no defence in law for computer hacking "in the public interest". The fact that BSkyB have claimed that shows its ignorance of the law. I would be content to see BSkyB continue to broadcast so long as (a) News Corp's share ownership is reduced to under 5%, and (b) no individual directly or indirectly associated with News Corp is a Director of the company.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    They are fitter to hold a television license than Messrs Cameron and
    Clegg are fit to govern.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    I find it worrying that the BBC has such a large monopoly. Should this be looked into. If it were a private company would the enormity be allowed?
    Apparently we should all agree with BBC views. Are we being ruled by it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    If BSB drop any and all connections to the entire News Corp/Int and ergo the Murdochs & I have no problem with them having a broadcast license - leave the Murdochs & their empire involved and no way should thier license continue.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    what we are looking at here is a failure of regulation. Check out the FSA - are they 'fit and proper'? Check out the 'Lords' who, having been found guilty of criminality, are welcomed back into the House. Is that 'fit and proper'. MP's are loving the witch hunt with the Murdoch's because it distracts from their own inadequacies and blatant corruption.

  • Comment number 64.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    I used to subscribe to Sky back in the analogue days, thought it was a good deal. Then came digital, I continued to subscribe. I came to realize the amount of advertising I was being subjected to and the American methods of delivering it and thought 'WHY AM I PAYING TO WATCH ADVERTS?'. Now on Freesat, much better and not such a pain in the wallet.
    Sky is responsible for crass TV in the UK

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Interesting link for those that may feel that BSkyB is a 'fit and proper' licence holder :-

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Perhaps the Murdoch’s should have taken lessons from Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell on establishing “Plausible Deniability”. What a surprise that powerful people think they are above the law. But in the end how much is this costing us to find out what we already know. Politicians and Journalists will lie,say and do whatever it takes to further their cause.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Not something you would tend to have in the same sentance, BSkyB and "Fit and Proper".

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    Indeed - as evidenced at the Govenment Enquiry, BSB has a top-down ethos of integrety and transparency, personified by the leadership and situation awareness exemplified by it's senior executives...

    Furthermore, the above article is a superb piece of investigative journalism, and not simply lazy paraphrasing of a BSB PR press release.


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