Magazine article Marketing

Interpreting the Silences around Media Intrigues

Magazine article Marketing

Interpreting the Silences around Media Intrigues

Article excerpt

Sometimes the really important phenomena to watch in the media market are the ones that aren't happening - the announcements that are not being made and the penetration figures that are only being spoken of in hushed tones.

Last year's deal between BSkyB and Kirch was like tectonic plates moving. Everyone sat up and took notice and pondered the coming together of Rupert Murdoch and Leo Kirch. For a long time the silence was deafening. Months went by and still the deal, which would have made BSkyB a leading pay-TV force in-Germany, was not finalised, although both sides insisted all was well.

Then the silence was broken by a comment that significant issues had to be resolved before an agreement was possible, followed by a single-paragraph statement saying both sides had agreed to tear up their 'heads of agreement'. Another Anglo-Germanic alliance of heroic proportions had bitten the dust.

A cynic could spot a number of other 'silent' delayed deals and wonder. Wasn't the BBC deal with Flextech to launch the odd half-dozen new channels or so supposed to be signed by the end of December, and hasn't the Flextech parent, TCI, got troubles of its own in the US? And how long can BSkyB's decision to order digital satellite television decoders be described as imminent while nothing happens without trades descriptions officers getting involved? And will digital satellite television really be launched in the final quarter of this year?

Appearances can be deceptive. …

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