Sky News deal ignores the problem of Monopolies

So Mr Murdoch got his way. Not because of any favouritism on the part of the new government, but, according to the FT anyway, because current regulatory frameworks are inadequate for protecting plurality in the new market in the UK:

…the bigger issue is that such constraints simply miss the point. They do not deal with the concerns that exist about the market power Mr Murdoch will wield once the takeover is complete. European competition law cannot be relied on to police things. Mr Hunt must look again at the UK’s media ownership rules as a matter of urgency.

A proper definition of media plurality is needed. It is illogical to regulate it only when there is a change of control. Factors such as organic growth and technological change do lead to big shifts in media consumption – and hence plurality. Preserving this is fundamentally important in a democracy. The law must be changed to secure it.

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  • The EU often bites about monopolies: eg Volvo/Scania, Microsoft.
    Sometimes size is needed: eg telecoms in the USA: Big Bell v Baby Bells.
    Surely the main thing Mr Murdpoch is delivering to us is dross: by this I mean everything other than what The Telegraph covers. I sometimes glance at the tabloids and it all non entities who masquerade as celebrities. Sky News does not supply news but just regurgitates its main story all day long. That seems to be what people want.
    The BBC get a huge leg up, £150 a house. For what? To show cookery programmes, quizes and half baked, underfunded current affairs programmes.
    As for the sports section, give me a break. Leaving the sociologial anomaly of Irish cricket (which sounds oxymoronic) to one side, the only good thing I have seen come out of British soccer in recent times is this mini internet sensation in memory of a good Jock:

    If Murdoch wants to fund the EPL etc nonsense, let him. Time to get back to basics and abandon his whole pyramid scheme. People should give up getting ripped off at EPL and buying Murdoch’s package services.
    I have two TVs, umpteen stations and I doubt I watch 2 hours of TV a week (a little Match of the Day and a few minutes while I have tea)
    Monopolies/oligopolies are here to stay. Maybe Al Jazeerah will roll them in time.
    Interestingkly enough it was the royalties of Home Alone saved Murduck. The City does not like him as he looks after no 1 to their cost.

  • Amazing, someone who still watches live TV, rather than recording it and playing it back later!

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Anyone think Mr Hunt is minded – or allowed by Cameron – to do anything adverse to Murdoch’s interests?

  • The sky system is a monopoly per se. It does not matter who owns it. It is still and always will be a monopoly. The only part of the business that is relevant to Murdoch’s other business interests is Sky News. That problem has been neetly removed. What other business interests Murdoch has is almost irrelevant.

    There are those who say that he could set up a rival news media to sky news if he wanted to. I notice that Andrew Neil, in particular, is expressing “concern” over that.

    I remember the early 90s when sky first came on the scene. The business was teetering on bankrutcy as it raced to sign up customers. It was a close run thing. Once it was turned around, it became a fantastic media outlet. That was Rupert Murdoch’s risk taking.

    Murdoch will be 80 years old in a few days time.

    The real reason for the takeover is that it is a good investment. Too many people are getting over excited just because it is Murdoch, as if he runs some sort of evil empire.

    As somebody who has been reading The Times since being at school, both before and after his involvement with the Newspaper, I find the suggestion a load of codswallop.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    The Times has lurched to the right in the past couple of years though, eh? It used to be my paper of choice but I can’t stomach it now. Very partisan in the run up the 2010 election.

    But yes some fair points about Sky’s logic, it makes business sense and I don’t blame them for trying