More hurdles ahead for Channel 5 bids
Thursday 27 April 1995
The current ownership restrictions make for mind-numbing reading. They cover every eventuality, from newspapers owning television licences to ITV companies investing in cable. The rule most under pressure today covers newspaper publishers, who cannot own more than 5 per cent of a second ITV licence holder including the proposed Channel 5.
Of the three contenders left for the new terrestrial service, all face hurdles under the ITC rules. Associated Newspapers and Pearson are worst off; both already have a stake in an ITV licence holder. Result? A 5 per cent ceiling for Channel 5.
The fact that every bidder so constrained is devising ways to avoid the rules is testimony to how likely the restrictions are to go. Stephen Dorrell, the Heritage Secretary, is virtually certain to wipe them away next month, when he unveils the results of his review of ownership limits. He may even go further, and raise the general limits on all cross-ownership to 29.9 per cent from the current 20 per cent.
The rules also help to explain why quite so many partners have lined up together to launch their bids, and why some have backed out altogether. Channel 5 is likely to be the last new terrestrial channel in Britain, in a sector that is in slow decline.
There is money to be made, to be sure, despite the declining share of audience and advertising revenues accounted for by the terrestrial television market. But there are also risks, which must be shared around. It is hard to entice enough partners to make your investment work if some of your key partners are limited to such risibly small shareholdings.
Yet some kind of regulation is clearly needed. The dangers of concentration in the media are obvious, not least in the areas of news and public affairs. A solution that might serve would see ownership restrictions replaced by market dominance limits. For instance, the newspaper, television and other media holdings of a single company might be looked at together, as a percentage of the total advertising market or of total viewership and circulation.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...