Posted by on January 23, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Richard Jones

Media expert Richard Jones comments on the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority rejecting Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky on the grounds that it is not in the public interest.

“One of the longest-running sagas in media has taken another turn, with Rupert Murdoch’s latest bid to take full control of Sky hitting a new setback.

The Competition and Markets Authority has provisionally ruled such a move would give the Murdoch family too much control over the UK’s media.

The Murdochs already own newspapers including The Sun and The Times, along with radio stations from talkSPORT to Bradford’s The Pulse.

They’ve got 39% of Sky too, but putting Sky News completely into their hands is proving to be the sticking point.

Since it launched in 1989, Sky News has established itself as a lively and valued competitor to the BBC, popular with politicians and viewers alike.

Broadcasting rules mean there’s no chance of it becoming a British version of the right-wing U.S. channel Fox News.

But even in its current form, Sky News has a big enough share of the TV and online news market to make regulators balk at allowing it to fully join a larger news empire.

One option would be to try to sell Sky News or spin it off as a completely separate company. But with the channel traditionally losing tens of millions of pounds each year, it’s tough to see anyone willing to take it on.

This inquiry is already being overtaken by events, though.

Rupert Murdoch sprung one of the biggest surprises of his long career last month by announcing he planned to sell most of his media assets – but not his cherished newspapers – to Disney.

The biggest threat to consumer choice might come from Disney deciding the cost of running such a loss-making news brand is an unnecessary distraction from its entertainment businesses.

Disney boss Bob Iger has already insisted that Sky News “absolutely” has a future. Viewers who routinely turn to it for breaking news will hope that’s true.”

 

Read the full story.

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