Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Radiactive cloud above UK

Posted: 22 March 2011 in Uncategorized

A radioactive cloud plume is today above the UK and no media as so far reported it!
Well, this is according to the French weather forecast institute, Météo France!
But how to track a radioactive cloud? Easy, there is the “track” of cesium 137, one of the most radioactive polluting elements.
However, the levels of radioactive material are infinitively small, so don;t wear (yet) your white anti-CBN suit to the office!


Student ANM1211
News report and analysis
This year’s protests in the Middle East
Words: 495

Was Tunisian President Ben Ali a CIA, French and Mossad agent?

With his fruit stall confiscated and no prospects for his future, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on 17 December 2010. Riots, violence, pro-democracy protests, revolutions, change of governments, free elections and foreign military interventions, all started because of the suicide of the 26-year old fruit seller.

Fifty years earlier, out of school, unemployed, aimless, Ben Ali was recruited by the French
élite military school, St Cyr.

After this initial training, the future kleptocrat joined the Fort Holabird Intelligence School
in Maryland, USA.

From France to his coup d’état to take the Tunisian presidency in 1987, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s career had always been connected to the French defence services, the CIA and Arab-feared Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad.

Nicolas Beau wrote an unauthorised biography of the dictator in 2002, “Notre Ami Ben Ali” (“Our Friend Ben Ali”). It was a best-seller in spite of the French authorities’ embarrassment.

In an interview, the former Le Monde Middle East correspondent says that: “In 1987, undoubtedly he had contacts with the CIA. But in 1991, he took the side of Saddam!” The expert in Tunisian politics takes a few puffs of his Gitane before answering my next question. “Sincerely, I do not really see him as a CIA agent. But then there are links with Mossad…

Abu Jihad – founder of Fatah, the Palestinian secular party – alongside two top PLO executives were killed in April 1988 near the Presidential Palace in Carthage by a commando led by Ehud Barack – future Israeli Prime Minister.

The same evening, Tunisian police had evacuated residents of the neighbourhood, cut electricity and telephone lines. There was a black-out around Abu Jihad’s house while the presidential palace was functioning normally. Mossad’s commando had free hands to kill quietly the two PLO members and the Fatah’s leader in front of his wife and son.

Israeli newspaper Maariv published a report ten years later writing that Ben Ali was watching from his palace the Israeli commando disembarking and accomplishing their mission.

Another source is Ben Ali’s former best friend. Béchir Turki has just published a book about the corrupt ex-president, “Ben Ali le Ripou” (“Ben Ali, the Rotten”). In it he declares that: “for the majority of Tunisians, the relationship between Ben Ali and Mossad is an open secret.

If the Iranian authorities had not lost credibility, the media would have paid more attention to the recent declarations of Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Khameini, on 4th February stating that: “the ex-president of Tunisia was a CIA agent.

Another intriguing fact, the so-called “Jasmin Revolution” leaves many Tunisians aghast. “Jasmin revolution” was indeed the code name that the CIA used during Ben Ali’s coup d’état in 1987.

All these correlations between the disgraced president and the intelligence agencies are puzzling in the least.

With recent developments in Libya and across the Middle East, other dictators may share
Ben Ali’s fate, and similar facts may surface to embarrass Western governments.


Posted: 28 February 2011 in Uncategorized

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake stroke Christchurch in New Zealand today during office hours in early morning.
Buildings collapsed killing dozens and trapping others, early reports say.
Since September the region has witnessing a series of quakes and aftershocks which weakened buildings and the historic old part of the city.
As the Rugby World Cup is going to take place later this year in the city, the RWC stadium suffered ‘substantial’ structural damages, according to the stadium’s developer and the surrounding area is totally wrecked.
It is understood that the stadium is going to be closed for the next 2 weeks for repairs.
This latest quake was more deadly than the other from 4th September because of a combination of the epicentre distance, depth and timing. Indeed, the tectonic plates movement contort and crumple the whole region and since that date aftershocks have been a daily occurrence .

The Bayonet Baby Effect

Posted: 25 February 2011 in Uncategorized
The Bayonet Baby Effect
At the beginning of the WW1 (1914), the British press were reporting that Germans were tossing Belgian babies into the air and catching them with their bayonets like the Norman Lindsay described in his picture, The Bulletin (see Pictography reference).
Arthur Ponsonby (op cit.) reveals that same story and a similar one of babies having their hands cut off by Germans shortly after invading Belgium: “On September 2, 1914, The Times correspondent quotes French refugees declaring: “They cut the hands off the little boys so that there shall be no more soldiers for France.”
However, Francesco Nitti, Italian Prime Minister during WW 1, stated in his memoirs: “We heard the story of poor little Belgian children whose hands were cut off by the Huns. (…) Mr. Lloyd George [then British PM] and myself carried out on extensive investigations as to the truth of these horrible accusations, some of which, at least, were told specifically as to names and places. Every case investigated proved to be a myth.”
Philip Knightley in his monumental book, The First Casualty (p.486), describes the alleged atrocities when the Iraqi troops arrived in Kuwait City and tossed babies out of incubators to send those machines back to their country. A campaign was orchestrated by the Citizens of Free Kuwait with stories appearing in the Daily Telegraph, Reuters, L.A Times, and others, with the nexus being a young Kuwaiti woman in front of an US Congressional Causus on Human Rights describing how she lost her baby with the robbery of the incubators. Some sources said that due to the outrage of the American public, George Bush Sr. did a U-turn and started speaking more belligerently speech about the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The young woman, Nayirah, was the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador in the US and such a story, as it later emerged, was just part of the Kuwaiti in exile Government propaganda.
Such stories and similar ones (eg. the “rape camps” in Kosovo or the “death camps” in Bosnia[2]) constantly appear in the press before small or major conflicts. It is very often referred to the hitlerisation or demonisation of the enemy, the “other” (see. Stuart Allan in News Culture under “Us and Them : racism in the news” p.157 for further development on this specific issue).
The role of each serious newspaper and channel is to check the veracity of such facts one way or another, whatever the atrocities. Failure to do so ends with the media’s worst enemy, loss of credibility.
Finally, such “psychological” imagery was used during the 1989 Romanian revolution and is still visible nowadays in the “Killing Fields” of Cambodia on large billboards showing a super-human Khmer Rouge soldier (on his own and at the same time) tossing and bayonetting a baby.
Conflicts in South East Asia have changed media conflict reporting and military propaganda. As we will see, freedom of reporting during war itself can bring disparate and complex situations on both sides.

Radio Weather

Posted: 25 February 2011 in Uncategorized

Weather – Snow – France

Radio – 29’’

Heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures have created havoc and misery in Europe.

In Paris, both airports Charles de Gaulle and Orly are closed with all flights cancelled. The Eurostar has reduced its service as well.

On motorways around the capital and north of France, the army has deployed armoured personnel carriers to drag stranded vehicles.

If you need to travel in or out of the country, please check with your carrier beforehand.

In Poland, six people froze to death on Sunday.

The forecast for the coming days is freezing temperatures and more snow across Europe.

The Limit is Sky


The satellite broadcaster BskyB has developped a dominant position in the British live broadcasting sports rights over the last 15 years. Firstly, this report describes the structure, control and ownership of these rights. The second part analyses how BskyB achieved the effective control of such rights and market power. In the third part, we will evaluate if a new policy in the live broadcasting sports rights is needed and the influence of football specificity. The conclusion will summarize the threats to the UK TV cultural heritage independence. The recommendation section aims to provide some elements as tohow to resolve and/or regulate such dominant situation.

When the UK is referred to in this report, Northern Ireland is included.


Twelve millions UK households subscribe to pay TV. BSkyB (LSE: BSY), commercially known as Sky, has reached ten million of subscribers in November 2010. With such powerful basis, BskyB has over the years pursued its strategy in buying the most attractive live broadcasting sports rights for the UK. The purpose of this report is to analyse the live broadcasting sports rights, BskyB’s strategy to achieve a market power position and the overall implications for television. Faced with such situation, we will list a few proposals on how the different stakeholders can resolve this monopolistic position.

I BskyB effective control of sports rights in the UK

1. Definition and distribution

1.1 What are TV sports rights?

Rights are intangible assets which allow broadcasters to show sport content on their market network and to third-parties according to the conditions attached to those rights. TV rights for broadcasting sports events are generally sold by auction to the highest bidder.

Since 1954, the British government has put in place a series of legislative texts in order to control and keep some sports events as part of the British heritage and hence to be broadcasted on free TV. Following the Broadcasting Acts of 1990 and 1996, more complex controls have been put in place and in 1998 2 lists of events were established with full live coverage protected, the Group A, and Secondary Coverage protected, the Group B. Full details of these events are listed in Annex A.

These lists are likely to remain as they are until 2013 according to Hugh Robertson, Minister of Sport and the Olympics, in his recent declaration[1]..

1.2 Listed sporting events and associated rights since 1998

1.2.1 Group A rights (Full Live Coverage Protected) or the Crown jewels

Group A, known as the Crown jewels, includes the major UK and international sports events (Olympic Games, the Football World Cup, The Grand National, finals of main events such as the FA Cup, Wimbledon, the Rugby World Cup, etc…). These events are generally broadcasted live on free-to-air television (FTA TV). (See Annex A for the exhaustive list of events).

1.2.2 Group B rights (Secondary Coverage Protected)

Group B events rights are sold individually by the events’ organisers to the highest bidders of free and pay TV channels. They may have live coverage on pay-TV and higlights on FTA channels. These events include cricket matches (Tests and World Cup), golf with the Ryder Cup and the Open, and other non-final matches for Rugby World Cup and Wimbledon. (See Annex A for the exhaustive list of events)

1.2.3 Which are the most important rights?

As per figure 59 from the latest OFCOM Report[2] (see Annex B), the TV rights are dominated by the English Football League, known to the average fan as the “Barclays Premiership”, which represents 52% of all rights offered for the broadcasting on TV and other platforms in the UK. However, the Premiership football event is not listed in any group.

Secondly, the UEFA Champions League and European Championships and the FIFA World Cup matches representing a further 18%. are very much sought after events for football fans and TV channels on the international scene. The rights for these matches are auctioned by the UEFA and FIFA on a territory-to-territory basis with a few small conditions attached.

1.2.4 Football rights and their value

Live football broadcasting rights dwarf those of any other sports. As a consequence (or a source) sports rights account for a third of BSkyB’s total programming budget. In figure 59 (op. cit.), the total of football rights property is 85% with the football Premier League representing more than the majority of the total (52%). As the vast majority of these rights (mainly FA Premier League and European Champions league) are not protected they have become the “must have” ones by their scarcity.

For the Premier League (PL), individual clubs cannot sell their rights directly to TV broadcasters as the Football Association Premier League prevents it and acts as a cartel. The PL negotiates the sale of all the Premiership clubs rights collectively on a three year-deal basis and redistributes the outcomes according to different criterias .

The value of the PL rights is valued at £1.782bn for the 2010 to 2013 seasons which represents the broadcasting of 138 matches (Deloitte, Football Money League, March 2010, p.38 and Annex C). According to the OFCOM report (PAY TV statement, 31 March 2010), “The Premier League football rights alone cost almost as much as all the sports rights acquired for all free-to-air broadcasting”.

For Europe, the Champions League rights are thought to be valued around £240m for three seasons (2009-12) according to The Guardian (Monday 17 March 2008)[3]. The rights for the FA Cup and England home and away games represent an estimate half billion pounds.

In adding up all the rights, the total value of football rights in the UK amounts to around £2.5bn.

1.3 How these righs are distributed

The Crown jewels (Group A) rights are sold by the event’s organisers or their business representatives to BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4/S4C and Channel 5 as the events need to be received free of charge by more than 95% of the population as per the Broadcasting Act of 1995. In this case, Sky, Virgin and other operators cannot bid for such rights.

Group B events rights are fully open to the competition but the highlights of such events need to be offered to the five main terrestrial channels as above. As cricket and golf have a loyal audience and because such events are part of the sport heritage, some experts argue that the most important should be included in Group A. In the David Davies report [4] published in November 2009, the Panel advises to increase the A group of events but without mentioning either football, golf and cricket.

II BskyB effective control of sports rights

2.1.1 A brief history of BskyB Sports channels

BSkyB took ten years to have its full sports channels in place. It launched Sky Sports in 1991 and on a subscription basis in 1992. That year, BskyB bought the PL rights for £304m with live games only on Sky Sports. ITV failed in its appeal regarding that decision in the High Court. For the first time ever, Match of the Day which had been broadcast for more than 40 years and the BBC could only show highlights of the English top football league games. It has remained the same since.

Sky Sports 2 was launched in August 1994. In 1996, BskyB negotiated a further four-year contract with the PL which attracted the attention of the European Commission and official complaints (and fury) from other TV broadcsters. That same year, Sky launched Sky Sports 3 followed by Sky Sports News in 1998 and a year later introduced Sky Sports Extra (now Sky Sports 4) to originally supply interactive coverage but since 2010 been running like the other 3 sport channels.

2.1.2 Why sports TV rights are so important to Sky

Numerous academics and analysts agree now that it took more than 10 years for Sky to be a major player in the broadcasting landscape. Sky reached a strong position having achieved the “virtuous circle” where financial income and profits allow a company to spend more in recruiting more customers and more content (purchase of rights). This strategic chain outbids competition thanks to the rights costs passed directly to consumers through subscription which the FTA TVs cannot reproduce (see economist Gillian Doyle’s explanation[5]). But this can turn into an economic market power with the threats of different regulators interventions.

Most important of all, rights are bought on behalf of Sky’s 10m subscribers who provide BskyB with £4.80bn [6] of income through direct payment. As sports represent more than 33% why viewers buy the different packages (OFCOM Report, op. cit. p.316 and Annex B figure 35 and 40), it is easy to extrapolate that without the PL rights, Sky will not be able to carry on in the virtuous circle logic. Beyond this and despite the increase of the susbscription fees over the years, Sky has forged a customer loyalty for its premium channels Sports 1, 2, 3 and it looks as if HD and 3D formats are also well-received as well by its audiences.

As Gillian Doyle states (op. cit.): “Success as a broadcaster depends on securing ongoing access to the rights for distinctive and attractive programming”. BskyB just followes that simple rule.

2.1.3 Which sports

As we saw above, football is the core of BSkyB strategy. To keep on with a repetitive “virtuous circle”, Sky needs to have as many football rights as possible. So far, Sky bought the PL rights and the Champions League (CL) up to 2013. According to the Deloitte Report (op. cit. p.38), the PL is the most valued event in Europe.

Behind football, cricket is the second most important sport on Sky followed by rugby. But even combined, those two only represent a small fraction of the total of the property rights.

2.2 How did Sky achieve such a position

2.2.1 A short view on Sky strategy

Rupert Murdoch stated that “Sports rights are the battering rams of pay TV”, in October 1996 at the News Corp AGM in Sydney. Indeed, the narrowcast[7] to small paying audiences of sports events (and movies) has been the strategy core of Sky from its launch. The success of such strategy needs the proprietary of long-term rights for the most successful sports events. The broadcasting of popular movies as soon as they become available for TV through windowing is only second to sports (OFCOM Report, op. cit.).

The main difference between these two siblings is that a sport event is an extremely perishable commodity and needs to be consumed “live”, otherwise its value decreases dramatically by the minute once the final result is known[8].

Another major focus for BskyB was the need for the logarithmic increase of its subcribers basis, the constant increase of fees and ARPU[9], the segmentation of its increasing audience and with it the multi-products offers. It took 10 years of constant investment (1999) and a further 10 years to reach its target of 10m subscribers in November 2010. In terms of revenue, it climbed from £1bn in 1999 (G.Doyle op. cit. p.63) to £5.9bn[10] in 2010 of which £4.8bn came from its subs basis[11].

Regarding competition, Sky has always had a very rigid commercial approach. OnDigital ITV-sponsored channel in the late-90s and Setanta in 2007 and 2008 should have been formal competitors of Sky for broadcasting sports to pay-TV. Both channels had successfully bid for some PL broadcasting rights and all other divisions’ rights for OnDigital. For these newcomers in pay-TV broadcasting, Sky refused to sell their advertising slots to both channels and launched their own digital device. This turned out to be a major setback for OnDigital and Setanta as they couldn’t reach their potential target audiences (the BskyB “core” viewers) sending both companies into the vicious circles of profitability and resulting in the dissolution of both services. Sky recaptured most of the PL rights previously sold to Setanta.

Against the BBC, Virgin, ITV, Sky main strategy as it appears over the years was to outbid any competition in getting the most exclusive sports rights for longer and longer periods of time (PL and now Champions League games). This allows Sky to maintain and increase its subscribers with the choice of more and more matches and increase its subs fees as the costs of the competition rises. This same paradigm applies to other sports such as golf and rugby.

Buying other content producers (Virgin Media TV channels recently), taking a minority share control of competitors (17.1% of ITV which blocks any merge or takeover), offering new technology devices and formats (HD and 3D) and getting involved in start-ups (onDigital and Freeview) were other strategic points to fend off competition and make BskyB the destination sports channel, in other terms getting market domination, even the monopoly on the live broadcasting of sports rights.

2.2.2 Market power
As the OFT reminded BSkyB in its report of 2002[12]: “There is no law against the possession of a dominant position; it is abuse of dominance that breaches competition law.” The difficulty for BskyB is keeping its dominant position without falling into one of monopoly.
However, as BSkyB controls and owns exclusive sports rights, that position for market regulators may look like barriers for potential rivals and can be interpreted as a market monopoly. According to this liberal market theory, the OFT had already concluded by that date that “BSkyB has a dominant position in the markets for the wholesale supply of certain premium sports channels (but without) breach of competition law” (p.10)

2.2.3 Market domination
It is important to notice that the regulator admits Sky market power but only for the wholesale of its sports rights not at retail levels. This can be interpreted as it was by analysts as a wholesale monopoly over live sports rights. To break that “monopoly”, OFCOM (op. cit.) ordered Sky, under the Communications Act to resell Sky Sport 1 and 2 to other retailers on other platforms: BT, ESPN, Freeview, Virgin, TalkTalk (See Annex B, figure 27).

However, regarding the other sports channels (Sport 3, Sport 4 and Sport News, 3D and HD) nothing was implied. This gives Sky some space to “play around” with its most lucrative events. By shifting prime events to other channels like Sports 3, 4, 3D or HD, Sky may force other platforms’ subscribers to upgrade to their full service through their current service providers (BT, Virgin, Freeview…)[13].

Sky will obtain a larger viewer basis by winning audiences not in its reach before. The same pattern looks to happen with the 2012 switch between analogue and digital signals as indicated in the report on the first digital TV switchover taking place[14] where Sky penetrates further audiences. Not only does Sky have market domination in the sports rights, in the wholesale of sports channels but it looks more obvious than before that it will reach a monopolistic position in retail live sports broadcasting in the short term.

III A new policy environment in sports TV rights?

3.1 Who’s afraid of Sky?
With its 16,000 employees, £6bn turn-over and its allocative control by News Corp, BskyB is a major commercial and broadcasting player. As Dan Sabbagh foresees[15] in The Guardian, BSkyB will be even greater by 2015. The independent think-tank, Enders Analysis, claims in The Economist (op. cit.) that BSkyB would continue to become more powerful, while the BBC would weaken over the coming decade13. So the fear is widespread.

Firstly, with an ever increasing purchasing power, it looks like all the sports rights except the Crown jewels will land soon or later in Sky’s basket. It is increasingly admitted that the economic broadcasting power is shifting from the PSB to pay-TV. This is already happening and will go even further.
Secondly, as the main Sky competitors failed in their attempt to get a small share of pay-TV it is improbable that any other larger media company will try to challenge the “almighty” Sky. By pouring more money into sports, Sky has become the most important stakeholder in the sport industry in the UK and Europe. Therefore, any action to curb its influence and monopolistic TV rights position in this sector demands domestic and supra-national decisions.

Finally, one cannot dissociate the umbilical link between News Corp and BSkyB. The influence and collaboration betweenthe two are obvious in their history and owners. Rupert Murdoch and his son have been CEO and chairmen of BskyB in the past and Rupert Murdoch is still the Chairman of Sky and CEO of News Corp. However, BSkyB remains independent in its operational control but less so in its allocative one as we will see later. The recent developments of News Corp potentially acquiring 100% of BskyB show that the other players in the UK media have united to stop such a move on grounds of “media plurality”[16]. Dan Shellagh of The Guardian goes even beyond: “A tie-up with News Corp, though, would increase Sky’s firepower across Europe (…) which could eventually set a precedent for joint bids for events like the Olympic Games and World Cup.[17] The danger may lie not only on domestic ground but on a global scale.
3.2 The specificity of football and the Premier League football rights
As it represents more than 50% of the sports proprietary rights on UK television, the Premier League sports rights have a major influence on broadcasting. As Sky has been the winner of the bids over the years, it is broadly assumed that the relationship between Sky and the FA PL representatives goes beyond simple commercial links.

As outlined in the David Davies report (op. cit.), independent research showed that: “82 per cent of respondents believed they had an entitlement to watch certain events free-to-air because they had already paid the TV licence fee, and 76 per cent expected to be able to watch major events on free-to-air TV”. Hence, the BBC has a responsibility to broadcast such events.

3.3 Free market?
With the wholesale market domination of rights sports, its even better reach of audiences -Sky is now available to 90% of all UK TV viewers-, its successful strategies, no real direct competitors after the collapse of Setanta, is it time for some intervention to regulate the sports rights market? As The Economist[18] summed it up: “A sports broadcaster’s demise should trouble regulators as much as fans (…) BSkyB looks no less powerful than before.”

BskyB market monopolistic domination contravenes the principles of free and liberal market. The examples of Setanta and OnDigital commercial failures, Sky’s increasing domination of sports rights and its vertical and horizontal control of access, technology and now distribution coupled with the specificities of broadcasting economic characteristics, should force different stakeholders to rethink and possibly change the current sports rights situation.

IV Conclusion
We saw earlier the strategy developed by Sky over the decades to acquire more and more rights on a long-term basis and the most sought-after events to keep the virtuous circle of profitability for the long term. Like the recent appointment of Sophie Turner-Laing as head of entertainment shows, BSkyB is applying the same tactics to drama, entertainment, factual, and the arts. The latest purchase of the Mad Men new season with a budget five times more important than the BBC and the commissioning of a new series (about evolution!) with David Attenborough may prove the doomed end some experts fear. Indeed, it looks more and more certain that without any form of intervention, the future looks bleak for the UK FTA TV not only for sports and other genres but for the European market as well.

V Recommendations

5.1 New legislation?
The Communications Act of 2003 gives OFCOM the means to change any dominant position in broadcasting. However, instead of forcing Sky to share its rights, it only forced, so far, the wholesaling of its Sports 1 and Sports 2 channels to other platforms owners. As shown above, this could be turned into a further more powerful position for Sky.
As previous recommendations and requirements from the ITC, Merger and Monopoly Commision (MMC), OFT and OFCOM do/did not offer the results to satisfy the wish of the vast majority of the British public to have access to major sports events on FTA TV, the legislative power should either change the Group A structure by incorporating some Premier League matches into it (derby games, last matches of the season, high audience games, etc…). However, the recent declaration of the British Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, may suggest otherwise[19].

5.2 A more powerful OFCOM

However, such new rules may not be necessary as they very often have consequential legal unknown effects in other sections of the economy. When BskyB launched its attempted takeover of Manchester United in 1999, the MMC blocked such move on the grounds that the merger would damage the quality of British football. The existing legislative content may therefore be enough to regulate the sports rights market without a specific anti-monopolitic law aimed at BSkyB. It is therefore in the OFCOM hands and in the interest of the British public and its national heritage to regulate further on such over dominant position.

5.3 Supra-national positions

The European Commission (EC) position towards this very specific British situation is very ambiguous since its first procedural intervention in the UK football affairs in 2003. The PL, then, agreed to end its 15-year exclusive distribution of live broadcast rights to BskyB and in the same way break its monopoly. The EC may soon look again at the British situation and may decide on another intervention as its previous one didn’t get the expected results.

The European football governing body (UEFA) looks to follow the same long-term move as did the PL in the past. It sold the full Champions League rights to BskyB with a very small exception in allowing FTA broadcasters (ITV) to show a single match per week including the final. This deal reminded a few observers of the earlier BSkyB deal with the PL. As far as the UEFA is concerned, and not being a legislator in terms of commerce, the partnership between the two is extremely good for football. But certainly not for the majority of the English fans. (see Annex B figure 48).

For the world football federation (FIFA) and the Olympics International Committee (IOC), it is too early to notice a trend in its recent football broadcasting rights. However as both are set in Group A of protected events, it looks like that their broadcasting righs will be allocated to FTA television channels for the foreseeable future.

Words: 3,285


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BBC, BB1 Match of The Day

Sky, Sky Sport News

Sky, Sky Sport 1

Sky, Sky Sport 2

Sky, Sky Sport 3

Sky, Sky Sport 4

Annex A

Extract from document of House of Commons, Listed Sporting Events.pdf 22 July 2010.

1998 list of protected events

The current list was compiled in June 19986 and is set out on the Ofcom website:

Group A (Full Live Coverage Protected)

The Olympic Games

The FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament

The European Football Championship Finals Tournament

The FA Cup Final

The Scottish FA Cup Final (in Scotland)

The Grand National

The Derby

The Wimbledon Tennis Finals

The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final

The Rugby World Cup Final

Group B (Secondary Coverage Protected)

Cricket Test matches played in England

Non-Finals play in the Wimbledon Tournament

All other matches in the Rugby World Cup Finals Tournament

Six Nations Rugby Tournament matches involving home countries

The Commonwealth Games

The World Athletics Championship

The Cricket World Cup – the final, semi-finals and matches involving home nations’


The Ryder Cup

The Open Golf Championship7

Annex B

Annex C

[1], Government defers Ashes free-to-air ruling –  21 Jul 2010

[2] OFCOM, Pay TV statement, 03 March 2010

[3] “Sky has (…) scooped the majority of the TV rights to Champions League football until 2012, after tabling a blockbuster bid estimated at more than £240m. (…)The auction was expected to run for months, but the size of Sky’s bid is believed to have led Uefa to make an early decision.”.

[5] Doyle, G. (2002) Media Ownership. London: Sage.

[6] Ben Fento, BSkyB keeps focus as Murdoch prowls, The Financial Times, 09/11/10

[7] Narrowcast is the broadcasting to small audiences

[8] Some in the Japanese media call it the “ikizukuri” effect in reference of the fish to be eaten still alive in your dish.

[9] ARPU: Average Revenu Per User

[10] BskyB Annual Review, 2010 p.32

[11] Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian main section, He’s a media giant but is Rupert Murdoch on course to be Britain’s millionaire, The Guardian, 12/10/10 pp.24-25

[12] OFT, BSkyB: The outcome of the OFT’s Competition Act Investigation, December 2002 p.5

[13] A good example was the recent game between Tottenham FC and Inter Milan in the Champions League (02 November 2010). For what was going to be the most important game in Tottenham’s European history event, it was broadcasted live on Sky Sports 4. This move may have forced thousands of fans to buy an extra service out of their basic premium package (Sports 1 and 2).

[14] DigitalUK, Report on the first digital TV switchover: Whitehaven / Copeland, Cumbria, April 2008 p.20

[15] op. cit.

[16] The Guardian, Media Section, Dan Sabbagh, British media join forces against Murdoch takeover of BskyB (12 October 2010)


[17] Op. cit.

[18] The Economist, Setanta goes bust:Heroic failure – A sports broadcaster’s demise should trouble regulators as much as fans

25 June 2009

[19], Government defers Ashes free-to-air ruling –  21 Jul 2010

BSkyB control of the UK sports rights

The limit is Sky

Table of Content


I Live broadcasting sports rights in the UK

1. Definition and distribution

1.1 What are TV sports rights?

1.2 Listed sporting events and associated rights since 1998

1.2.1 Group A rights (Full Live Coverage Protected) or the Crown jewels

1.2.2 Group B rights (Secondary Coverage Protected)

1.2.3 Which are the most important rights?

1.2.4 Football rights and their value

1.3 How these righs are distributed

II BskyB effective control of sports rights

2.1.1 A brief history of BskyB Sports channels

2.1.2 Why sports TV rights are so important to Sky

2.1.3 Which sports

2.2 How did it achieve such a position

2.2.1 A short view of Sky strategy

2.2.2 Market power
2.2.3 Market domination

III A new policy environment in sports TV rights?

3.1 Who’s afraid of Sky?
3.2 The specificity of football and the Premier League football rights
3.3 Free market?

IV Conclusion

V Recommendations
5.1 New legislation?

5.2 A more powerful OFCOM
5.3 Supra-national positions