BSkyB + ITV = -ITN

without comments

Alistair Darling’s continued delay in deciding whether to intervene in Sky’s purchase of 17.9% of ITV speaks volumes about this government’s attitude to media ownership. Unlike previous Labour administrations it has never had a problem with cross-platform ownership or consolidation of media. In the lead up to the Communications Act, when the government was looking to liberalise media ownership it took Lord Puttnam (BBC Chairman designate?) to force through a public interest clause. At the time he said that ‘a sizeable chunk of our own body politic’ seems to subscribe to the view that “the public interest is that which the public is interested in”.
One has to assume that the government would really rather not intervene but, given the advice by the Office of Fair Trading, feels it has to do something. Brown is almost certainly keen not to alienate News International in the lead up to his accession. There seems, at this stage, to have been little consideration of the implications – for example for ITN – assuming the BSkyB bid goes through.

Written by Martin Moore

January 31st, 2007 at 10:35 am

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