UK Regulator To Probe BSkyB Over Withholding Claim Lodged By Rival BT

By | Wednesday June 19, 2013 @ 8:17am PDT

The battle between BT and BSkyB continues to mount with UK regulator Ofcom opening an investigation into the News Corp.-controlled pay-TV group on the back of a complaint brought by BT. In the … Read More »

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Ofcom Enlists ISPs And Copyright Owners In New Draft Code On Illegal Downloading

By | Tuesday June 26, 2012 @ 3:54am PDT

The UK government and regulator, Ofcom, are taking the next steps to bring the Digital Economy Act’s mass notification system on copyright infringement into effect. After a court case slowed down the legislation, Ofcom’s new draft code is now expected to head to Parliament later this year. The code calls on ISPs to alert subscribers when their connection is suspected of being used to illegally share films or music. For now, the code covers ISPs with more than 400K broadband customers including BT, Everything Everywhere, O2, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin. BT and Talk Talk had previously argued that it was not for them to police their customers, but they lost on appeal. ISPs will also be required to explain to subscribers how they can protect their networks and where they can find licensed content. Copyright owners in turn are expected to invest in awareness campaigns and develop “attractive online services to offer their content.” The government, for its part, has put secondary legislation before Parliament that would see the notification system paid for by rights holders with ISPs paying a smaller element. Read More »

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London Olympics Readies For Global Media And Their Record Spectrum Demands

With 26,000 members of the global media converging in London this summer, the 2012 Olympic Games will be the biggest media event in history. As such, Britain’s communications regulator, Ofcom, says demand from wireless technologies will more than double in the capital during the Games’ seven-week run — testing the country’s spectrum reserves like never before. With wireless spectrum already at full capacity in London for many of the applications to be used during the Olympics, Ofcom has devised plans to manage the airwaves including borrowing spectrum from public sector bodies like the Ministry of Defence. It will also free up unused civil frequencies and make use of spectrum that’s available without a license. Ofcom has been at the task since 2006, shortly after London won the bid to host the Games. Tests have been run in the past year, including at the April 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. During the Games, up to 20,000 wireless frequencies will be assigned for such technologies as wireless cameras, microphones, timing and scoring systems and sports commentary systems. That’s more than double the number usually assigned in a year. Read More »

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Ofcom Releases UK TV Advertising Findings

By | Thursday December 15, 2011 @ 7:56am PST

Ofcom, Britain’s communications regulator and competition authority, today announced the conclusion of a review of how TV advertising is bought and sold in the UK. Back in June, the organization stated that it would look into the business of advertising … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: China, UK

By | Saturday October 1, 2011 @ 4:00am PDT

Alibaba Group’s Chief Exec Wants To Buy Yahoo
Jack Ma, chairman and CEO of China’s e-commerce company Alibaba Group, said he is “very, very interested” in acquiring Yahoo and discussed options with other potential buyers, according to Reuters. Buying the … Read More »

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UPDATE: UK Regulator Asks If News Corp Is Fit To Own BSkyB After Growing Scandal Leads To Inquiries And Arrest

Analysis: Rupert Murdoch Sacrificed News Of The World For BSkyB Deal

UPDATE, 11:35 AM: Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, says it has concerns as to whether News Corp is a fit-and-proper owner for BSkyB in light of the … Read More »

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James Murdoch Bares Teeth Over Sky Bid

James Murdoch has warned the UK government that News Corp could move overseas if the regulator blocks its £7.8 billion ($12.5 billion) bid for BSkyB. News Corp’s European and Asian boss made the veiled threat talking to investment bank analysts in Barcelona. The government must decide whether it wants to risk “jeopardising an £8 billion investment in the UK” with a prolonged investigation, Murdoch said, noting that News Corp could relocate some of its most innovative projects to more “welcoming” countries if the UK blocks its bid for BSkyB. “From India to Italy and to Germany, countries are becoming more welcoming of investment and more welcoming of what we can bring,” Murdoch said. Read More »

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Sky About To Sell Its 7.5% Stake In ITV? Will NBC Or Even Simon Cowell Become Bidders?

By | Friday November 12, 2010 @ 9:17am PST

City analysts tell me the reason why ITV’s stock price is creeping up again is because BSkyB could be selling its share of ITV. “It would look better from a regulatory point of view,” says Paul Richards of Numis, referring … Read More »

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Simon Cowell’s 6th ‘X Factor’ Scandal In UK

Fox brass are getting more and more nervous  about the way Simon Cowell is conducting this controversial but lucrative 7th series of The X Factor in the UK before the show comes to the U.S. in Fall 2011. Viewers are ringing up ITV and TV regulator Ofcom complaining that Sunday’s vote show was rigged. They’re mad because Treyc Cohen, 28, was booted off The X Factor after a sing-off with tabloid favourite Katie Waissel, whose panic attacks and other escapades make for better ratings than Cohen’s serviceable voice but dull presence. One judge abstained after two other judges, including Simon Cowell, voted to send Cohen home, and a fourth judge voted for her to stay. Had that judge not abstained, creating deadlock, then the public vote would have decided the winner, which would have been Cohen Read More »

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Puttnam: Murdoch Takeover “Extremely Damaging To Informed Democratic Debate”

Speaking in the House of Lords, the UK equivalent of the Senate, David Puttnam said that News Corp’s bid to take control of BSkyB posed a threat to democracy. Here are excerpts from the speech given by the one-time Columbia Pictures boss:

My Lords… I had the honour of entering your Lordships House thirteen years ago tomorrow. Since that time there have been three or four really big issues with which I’ve consistently tried to engage – in part because they relate to experiences gained in my former life, but also because I believe they represent the type of issues upon which rests the future of the type of society most of us would wish to live in… My Lords, the purpose of this afternoon’s debate is to draw attention to the possibility that we are on the edge of a very slippery slope – one that could find us falling further and further under the influence of a single, US-based owner, with a highly questionable interest in the benefits of a diverse and flourishing plural media here in the United Kingdom. So why this debate, and why now?

The primary reason My Lords is that News Corporation yesterday notified the European Commission of its intention to purchase the 61% of BSkyB that it does not presently own. As I’ve already mentioned, this morning we heard the welcome news that this proposal had been referred by the Secretary of State, to Ofcom. It’s my most sincere hope that the Coalition’s proposed ‘trimming’ of Ofcom’s powers will not result in any diminution of its capacity to exercise those powers in respect of important matters such as this.

There, are of course, a number of aspects to media plurality – notably the Government’s proposals to repeal the local “cross-media” ownership laws, but this afternoon I only have time to focus on the really big issue resulting from News Corporation’s power, reach and influence. It’s my contention that if regulators and legislators in Europe and the UK remain supine, and simply wave this proposed acquisition through, the consequences for the citizens, as well as the political class in this country could become deeply troubling. The purchase of these shares would give News Corporation an unprecedented level of control over the UK media, one that to my mind has the potential to be extremely damaging, not just in respect of media plurality, but to informed democratic debate as a whole.

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UK Government Probes Murdoch BSkyB Bid

Vince Cable, the British business secretary, has ordered media regulator Ofcom (the UK’s equivalent of America’s FCC) to investigate Rupert Murdoch’s plan to take full control of the … Read More »

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Rupert Murdoch Blasts Anti-News Corp Alliance Opposed To BSkyB Bid

Rupert Murdoch took a swipe at rival media groups striving to block News Corp’s takeover of BSkyB and accused them of petty thinking. In what was billed as his first major speech in the UK since 1989, Murdoch tonight … Read More »

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UK Broadcasters Could Be Forced To Carry Local News Bulletins

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt raised the possibility of Sky also being told to run local news, at least in the short term. Otherwise it could risk being demoted on where it sits on electronic TV listings. Hunt thinks that Sky and Read More »

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More Change For UK Film Organizations

The Daily Telegraph has been leaked a list of 177 taxpayer-funded agencies to be abolished by the new British government. There’s a question mark over the British Council, which promotes UK film culture abroad. And the Film Industry Training Board, chaired by A-Team producer Iain Smith, is set to be privatised. (Smith told me the government’s decision came out of the blue. “We are now trying to establish what it might involve.”) The BBC World Service just announced Read More »

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Sky Faces Splitting Up Movie Business

By | Wednesday August 4, 2010 @ 3:58am PDT

UPDATE: The pay-TV giant could be forced to separate its consumer movie channels and the way it sells those channels to rivals. Ofcom, the communications regulator, has referred Sky’s dominance of the movie pay-TV business to Brussels. The Competition … Read More »

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Viewers Must Know When They’re Watching Product Placement, Says UK Regulator

By | Monday June 28, 2010 @ 8:11am PDT

Product Placement LogosBroadcasters must let TV viewers know which programmes contain product placement, according to new rules published today. A symbol will appear at the start and end of programmes, says communications regulator Ofcom.

The UK government is finally allowing … Read More »

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