Magazine article Marketing

Mental Agility in Media's World Is a Flexible Friend

Magazine article Marketing

Mental Agility in Media's World Is a Flexible Friend

Article excerpt

In the world of the media, the greatest asset is a flexible mind - as in the ability to argue that black is white and all the way back again if needs must. Indian rubber doesn't even begin to give a feel for the sort of mental gymnastics needed here.

Until Friday morning it was a perfectly respectable thing to argue - an intellectual duty even - that digital terrestrial TV is not something to get worked up about. Nice technology and, sure, there are a few eccentric people who don't for some reason fancy having satellite dishes stuck on the front of their Georgian mansions, but hardly a business. How can 30 channels win against 200? And where exactly are the programmes which would persuade people to buy the terrestrial black box?

All along it has been clear there was only one way such a thing could work and that was if BSkyB were to decide to put its top subscription channels - in particular Sky Sports - on the system to pull through the nice-but-secondary channels such as ITV2 and the BBC's planned 24-hour news service. But why, conventional wisdom went, should BSkyB breathe artificial life into the corpse and risk creating more competition for its main new business: digital satellite TV?

Conventional wisdom wasn't that far wrong, except that Sam Chisholm did decide to pick up the phone and propose a deal to Michael Green of Carlton UK Television. It was clearly time for great mental flexibility. Green has always been enthusiastic about DTT but Chisholm has tended to be negative, and Gerry Robinson of Granada TV has been positively glacial, about its prospects. …

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