View from City Road: Media war winners already decided

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The Independent Online
Why is it that Britain is unable to get cross-media ownership right? Peter Brooke, as befits a man who has no interest in television, has just indicated that he is willing to level the playing field.

But two members of the team have already gone off with the bat, the ball, the stumps and two of the best-looking cheerleaders, and an Australian Rhodes scholar has erected a massive stadium of his own next door.

There may be a feeding frenzy in British television. But Pearson, Mirror Group, Associated et al will arrive at the feast ravenous and find all that is left is a few dog- eared sandwiches and some flat cider.

Assuming Granada wins its bid for LWT, the largest ITV company on offer will be the financially challenged Yorkshire Tyne-Tees, with the best remaining prospects being the hideously expensive Anglia and HTV.

And who says these will not be snapped up by the likes of MAI, Bertelsmann or Generale des Eaux before the publishers get there?

What follows could be a battle for scarce assets at sky-high prices. Meanwhile, Carlton and Granada, who have already got what they want in ITV, will be free to bid for newspapers or radio stations or interests abroad. If you are looking for winners in the media war, look no further.

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