News Corp is ‘fit and proper’

It was a question from an analyst that prompted a rare note of indignation from BSkyB’s normally calm and collected CEO Jeremy Darroch. Asked whether BSkyB would continue to monitor the make-up of its board of directors, Darroch said it was quite ludicrous to suggest that News Corp was not a entity to hold a broadcasting licence.

Darroch, speaking to analysts on July 29, said four directors would retire in the coming months as they reached the end of their formal terms of office.

However, despite the exceptional numbers turned in by BSkyB, it is still not quite doing as well as UK cable operator Virgin Media in terms of multiple services when expressed on a like -for-like basis. In a note from IHS-Screen Digest’s senior analyst Guy Bisson, he points out that “BSkyB has some way to go before it reaches the triple-play uptake of rival Virgin Media. On a like-for-like basis, BSkyB’s customer base take 1.6 services per home (not including HD) against Virgin’s 2.5. But with recent growth, BSkyB has shown that its strategy to embrace triple-play has been an unprecedented success”.

BSkyB added 174,000 broadband clients in the three months to June 30th, taking its overall broadband total of 711,000. BSkyB said that it continued to extend its broadband network coverage during the last 12 months and unbundled 385 additional exchanges – which means the company’s footprint covers around 80 per cent of households in the UK.

“Over the year, we increased the number of customers taking all three of TV, broadband and telephony by 37 per cent and extended our potential reach by selling home communications products independently from television for the first time,” said BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch.

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