Friday 26 June 2009

If you can't beat them, whinge like Virgin Media

The title effectively sums up the arguments by the cable/adsl media industry against Sky Television and in particular Sky Sports.

I don't have Sky myself, but have done in the past. I find it very expensive and a luxury - but the service is very good. The content is the best of all the possible providers. This is because Sky is the best run business with the most capital available to it.

Contrast Virgin, the old NTL business nearly destroyed by Lord Carter in a former life. This itself was an amalgamation of two failing cable networks (Telewest and Cable & Wireless).

Even with the advantages of cable broadband, these legacy companies just can't cut it. And new entrant BT is just as bad. Expensive and long contracts for poor content; deliver the truly awful firm that is BT - perhaps soon to expire under the weight of pensions obligations in any event.

So what does the competition do; they whinge, they have their insiders like Lord Carter, they go on a regulatory offensive.

Now proposals are out to force Sky to demand less for its expensively assembled content. This in itself is market abuse. it is not Sky's fault the competition has been rubbish for over 15 years.

Sky costs you nothing if you don't have. No taxpayers are harmed in its creation (well, OK, they do pay very little corporate tax).
This new approach just shows the Government does not understand markets still; there are winners and losers in all functioning markets.


Bill Quango MP said...

Can't say we weren't warned.
As Tony Blair said..


Demetrius said...

There are some interesting issues here. A few years back I paid Sky for a package that gave a lot of games for a price I thought was tolerable. Then in come the EU and UK government shouting about "competition". So others bid up the prices and then if I want to access them all, the price increase to me is huge. In the meantime, the football authorities are complaining about Premier League dominance of the transfer market because nearly all of the extra goes into bidding up player wages. Now the Government are petrified that a reversion to Sky dominance could well cut the pay out to clubs, meaning that English clubs may no longer be dominant in Europe. Cue whinging fans and panic in the media, and very rich foreigners close to politicians being very unhappy. All we need now is for the EU to demand that every professional team should reflect the cultural and ethnic origins of the local community in which it is situated. On the other hand, that really might be a very good idea.

Elby the Beserk said...

Telewest became Blueyonder. And actually, as a subscriber, their internet service was generally good, except when they upgraded (i.e. disabled for a week) their mail servers.

Their support was excellent.

Virgin's is shit, and you have to pay.

Agree on Sky, from when I did have it (we have no TV. Won't fund the Propaganda Arm of New Labour). Especially the sports, bar that mouthy twat Andy Gray.

Simon Fawthrop said...

Quite right.

I have had professional B2B with ntl and its marginally better than dealing with BT B2B. There are scars on my back from both organisations failing my projects.

Murdoch took a huge business* gamble 25 years ago and invested billions. Many thought (hoped?) he would fail and lose his money. He took a long term view (isn't that what the left keep saying they want?) and won through in the end. Good look to him, say I.

I have Sky and think their package is expensive but its what I want. If you threaten to leave there are some good deals.

It should be noted that there are a number of events that Sky can't get exclusively, Wimbledon, FA Cup final, World Cup final etc. However Sky has done a great service for sport with far more minority sports getting an airing than we would ever see on terrestrial. I wrote to Aggers a few years ago when he kept whingeing that Sky had the home test matches (except Lords) pointing out that they also show all the test match, not shared with racing or WIMBLEDON, all of England's overseas tours, county matches, Women's cricket and overseas games (I'm watching Wi Vs India as I type). Would the beeb give us all this? Would they fuck. So as far as I'm concerned Sky can do what they like.

Demetrius, there are already moves to restrict the number of foreign players in teams so be careful what you satirise, real life does imitate art.

*He also took a technical gamble. He gambled that the engineers of the early satellites had been conservative with their calculations and he would get better coverage than everyone predicted. He must know what conservative people we engineers really are :-)

not a BT fan said...

Cable & Wireless laid the fibre optic cables in vitually every road and side street in the South West about ten years ago ( the last great Navigation ) which has enabled us to enjoy broadband years before BTs much vaunted rollout of their own pathetic 2MB 'service'.

That nearly busted C&W and the ISPs Blueyonder and Telewest ran in tandem until taken over by Virgin Media which remains the only one not to run piggyback on BT landlines ( ie we don't have to pay for a BT landline to have internet access ).

C&W tried to re-enter the ISP game under the name Warthog, Hippo or something like that but could not even run a decent telesales campaign to get it iff the ground.