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 98.

    To misquote another: "Well they would say that, wouldn't they?"

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    I have been noting the Top 10 read news items on this website for a few days now. Hardly ever is anything to do with News International or phone hacking in there.

    Could that be because aside from the Rabid Left, Grauniad readers and the BBC with its own self-interest nobody actually gives a damn?

    Just a thought.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    This must be some form of 'fit and proper' that is understood only by News Corp.

    Is a compnay who have admitted multiple hacking activities 'fit and proper' to own a TV licence?

    They seem to think that their hacking activities make them 'fit and proper'.

    I beg to differ.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    "The MPs split on party lines" Well I guess that means that the party that thinks he is a fit person (the Tories) to run a company will be winning the next election then. Good to know that Mr. Cameron knows which side his bread is buttered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    A little bit of pot and kettle me thinks?
    Integrity in the media I would say still outweighs the sleaze factory which is westminister even though they are bedfellows.
    We live in hope of a ruling class and media who wish to represent us instead of themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    To deplore the Murdochs is not the same as wanting BSkyB to be damaged - indeed, questioning their role here is to seek to restore the company's standing and remove any questionmark hanging over it by removing them from the Board.

    If they go from the UK, we can clean up the cesspit which is the Sun and free BSkyB to develop as a major UK business free of NI.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    Business men DO lie in answer to straight questions. The owners of the company I work for lied to staff when they were planning to sell the company for example.

    Lying is of course not good and NEVER justified but the Murdochs are far from unique.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    62. Derek
    15 MINUTES AGO :-
    “secretly filmed by Panorama”, “internal NDS documents, obtained by Panorama”

    Good Investigative journalism or hacking ? -- You can't have it both ways depending on who does it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    What on earth was ever 'fit snd proper' about Murdoch, BSkyeB or News International.
    Take the license off them!

  • Comment number 89.

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

  • Comment number 88.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    Well,they're probably as fit & proper as anyone else would be in this 'dog-eat-dog-anything-goes-as-long-as-you-make-a-profit' world that we have created for ourselves.The Capitalist premise is that making lots of money increases the quality of life.It doesn't,of course but this mis-belief leads to increasingly selfish & bad business behaviour of the type that the Murdochs engage in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    When Murdoch set up Sky he said it would always be free-to-air. He changed his mind when he realised he could make more money by charging a subscription. Sky is now a cash cow and by virtue of that nearly a monopoly. It would aid free-to-air commercial broadcasters, and the BBC, if Sky and others who charge for access were banned from showing adverts - not everyone can afford £500 a year for Sky.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    If shareholders make an attempt to dislodge the Murdochs, as speculated, it may well make a difference to the public if they shut down the less 'financially interesting' newspapers and demand more from sponsors. Plus you will no longer know exactly who it is that you don't trust, instead of just plain Murdoch

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    72.Happy Barrel - " would have covered the MPs' expenses and the Tory links with developers in this kind of detail, but it didn't."

    Then you weren't paying attention......there was saturation coverage from all the major media outlets during that scandal, including the Beeb.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    The select committee system has been discredited. The whole investigation has been a smokescreen for the widespread blagging by the entire press. The Guardian/Observer was singled out by the Information Commissioner as one of the biggest users of private detectives and investigators and no public defence argument has yet been tested in the courts. Fit and proper? Many editors will fail the test.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    So Tom Watson MP (Labour) doesn't think Murdoch's 'fit and proper' - well that may be the case, I'm not sure.

    One thing I am sure of, Labour were not and are not 'fit and proper' - leading this country into illegal wars and crippling the country with a mountain of debt that it will take at least a generation for our kids to pay off. They are a joke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    I have cable tv but I can't remember the last time I watched Sky1 on it. I know this will make me sound really snobbish but it is all lowest common denominator rubbish aimed at chavs. With such low quality programs on their flagship channel I'd think offcom would be looking at that just as much as the mps report when they make their decision.

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 79.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?


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