Magazine article Marketing

Slow Pace in the TV Race Hides a New Lease of Life

Magazine article Marketing

Slow Pace in the TV Race Hides a New Lease of Life

Article excerpt

The situation facing ITV is remarkable. More than two months after the passage of the Broadcasting Act nothing appears to be happening. Nobody has pounced on any of the remaining free-standing ITV companies, and broadcasters appear to be engaged in a slow race towards digital terrestrial television-last one to finish wins.

The legislation that was supposed to kick-start a final round of consolidation in ITV, get everybody excited about digital terrestrial and enable newspapers to take over broadcasters, has instead put most people to sleep. The only flickers of life have come from the Scottish Television bid for Caledonian and from Associated Newspapers, owners of the Leicester Mercury, trying to buy 80% of Leicester Sound. Both deals are now subject to new public interest tests.

Yet below the surface, the ducks are paddling hard and all sorts of fascinating things are going on. The slow pace of progress is dictated by one factor - money. All the media assets that people want to buy are considered to be too expensive, driven up by City expectations of a new media gold rush. Everyone is ostentatiously sitting on their hands, trying to affect disinterest in the hope the City will get tired waiting and start marking media share prices down. It will almost certainly be a vain hope. Memories are not quite that short.

The fun has almost certainly been delayed. Advisers for Carlton and HTV have had a number of very private meetings to discuss a takeover. The fact that CanWest has also had meetings with HTV about the possibility of taking a 49% stake might begin to energise Michael Green. …

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