Murdoch's digital bust-up escalates
Friday 07 June 1996
Sources at BSkyB, 40 per cent owned by Rupert Murdoch, reacted angrily to suggestions that the alliance with Bertelsmann, Canal Plus and Havas had already failed, but none the less blamed Bertelsmann for the rising tensions.
"We know how to deliver, and they only know how to deal in political palaver," said a Sky source, referring to BSkyB's record as a pay-TV broadcaster in the UK and growing fears at Sky that Bertelsmann is dragging its feet on introduction of a digital bouquet of programming in Germany by autumn.
A spokesman for Bertelsmann responded in kind, saying: "BSkyB started this whole mess, not us," referring to a letter sent early this week by Mr Murdoch demanding clarification of Bertelsmann's intentions toward the alliance. That letter fuelled reports about growing tensions.
The harsh climate dates from Bertelsmann's surprise decision early this year to merge its television interests with CLT, the Luxembourg-based media company, which plans to launch a French pay-TV operation in direct competition with its alliance partner Canal Plus.
That deal seemed to go against the rationale of the four-way alliance, which had been aimed at developing digital TV in Germany and elsewhere without jeopardising each partner's stranglehold on its home market.
Canal Plus also weighed in yesterday, complaining that Bertelsmann seemed "too quick to declare the alliance at an end," and warning that a collapse of the agreement could jeopardise other joint ventures between Bertelsmann and Canal Plus in Germany.
The threats to the alliance have complicated the competitive climate in Germany, where two rival systems - one backed by Bertelsmann and the other by the Bavarian media giant Leo Kirch - are vying to dominate the digital revolution.
BSkyB is interested in taking a 25 per cent stake in Premiere, jointly owned by Bertelsmann, Canal Plus and Mr Kirch. But a deal whereby Canal Plus and Bertelsmann would each sell a 12.5 per cent to BSkyB has so far been blocked by Mr Kirch.
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is shot dead
Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek actor dies after suffering lung disease
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...
£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...
£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...