Sky fails to secure exclusive Hollywood film rights
Saturday 04 October 1997
BSkyB had originally hoped to negotiate an exclusive pay-per-view deal with studios such as Disney, Universal, MGM and Warner, but it is now clear it will have to put up with sharing the rights with the cable companies.
On Demand's move comes just a week after NTL, the US cable company, joined the consortium, which is led by Telewest Communications, the second largest UK cable operator.
Gaining the rights is a victory for the cable companies, which have in the past been poor at presenting a united front against BSkyB.
Apart from Telewest and NTL, On Demand is also thought to include General Cable, Diamond Cable Communications and Comcast Cable. Cable & Wireless Communications was originally part of the consortium, but it dropped out after entering talks with BSkyB about using the satellite broadcaster as its exclusive pay-per-view supplier. CWC and BSkyB have still not reached agreement, after key executives at CWC questioned the value of teaming up with Rupert Murdoch's satellite broadcaster.
Neither BSkyB nor On Demand could be contacted for comment last night, although an announcement is due early next week.
So far, pay-per-view events - where consumers pay to see a specific film or sporting fixture - have all been negotiated by BSkyB and have mainly been limited to boxing events. But digital television, which launches next Spring, will open the way for a range of pay-per-view opportunities, especially in the film industry.
The proliferation of channels promised by the switch from analogue to digital will enable individual movies to be shown at roughly 15-minute intervals on different channels, a system known as near-video-on-demand.
According to some City analysts, pay-per-view movie services could be a big money-spinner for the cable companies. Although digital technology will enable BSkyB to carry far more channels than it can currently, transmitting by satellite still limits the number. Cable, on the other hand, has virtually limitless capacity.
NTL's involvement in On Demand did not come as a surprise as the US company is involved in merger talks with Telewest. NTL had first approached Telewest about merging in the hopes of creating a rival to CWC, which was formed from a pounds 4.5bn four-way merger in April. City analysts say the cable industry desperately needs to consolidate if it is to improve penetration and reduce its debts.
However, some observers are sceptical about the likely success of a merger, as both Telewest and NTL are in a fairly shaky financial position. Telewest has recently adopted an initiative to boost its profits by charging broadcasters for channels aired on the cable operator's network.
Telewest has continually attacked the high fees charged by BSkyB and other programmers, which have eroded margins.
South Korea ferry passengers who were told to stay put 'got trapped' aboard sinking ship
Undertaker dead hoax: WWE legend not 'found dead in home' as Facebook and Twitter reports
Are beards attractive? Ryan Gosling says yes, but science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge and find out who's right
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness 'unqualified' to testify
Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Big Bang Theory to get special Star Wars episode with help from Lucasfilm
- 3 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 4 Pharrell Williams 'Happy': British Muslims dance to song in video
- 5 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading, Cit...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: You must ...