Letter: Profitable future for terrestrial TV

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The Independent Online
Sir: Rob Brown (" 'Two-brains' Elstein caught in two minds", 3 March) seems not quite to have followed what I said on South Bank Live. The audience share of the US networks has indeed declined: but their revenue, value and investment in programming have all risen more steeply. I made that argument consistently through my years at Sky: the new media will erode terrestrial audiences, but barely affect their revenues. I say exactly the same now now I am at Channel 5.

Rupert Murdoch runs a successful twin terrestrial/satellite strategy in the US on precisely this basis. There is no contradiction involved.

Far from Channel 5 having "an abysmally low budget", it will have three times the spending power of Sky One, which wins a 5 per cent share in satellite homes against 40 competitors. In three-quarters of the homes receiving it, Channel 5 will face just four competitors.

DAVID ELSTEIN

Chief Executive

Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd

London WC2

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