Anthony Simmonds-Gooding a former senior advertising executive with Saatchi & Saatchi and who from 1988 headed up British Satellite Broadcasting, the official licensee of the UK’s 5-channel DBS satellite transmissions, passed away on October 20th. BSB used D-MAC (Multiplexed Analogue Components-type D) as its high-definition transmission system to a ‘Squarial’ receiving dish.
Simmonds-Gooding brought together the likes of Granada Television, Pearson, Virgin Group and Anglia TV (and Amstrad initially) to bid for, and subsequently win in December 1986, the 15-year broadcasting franchise granted by the British government.
Rupert Murdoch had also bid for the franchise but was unsuccessful, and went on to use Luxembourg-based satellite telecom frequencies from Astra to extend his existing Sky Channel to a re-launched 4-channel system, using Amstrad-built set-top boxes and transmitting in analogue PAL.
BSB launched on March 25th 1990, but Murdoch’s Sky had launched 14 months earlier. The losses for both BSB and Sky were massive, and by November 1990 a merger deal (resulting in BSkyB) had been struck.
Following the merger redundancy notices were handed out to the BSB staff, and this included Simmonds-Gooding. He went on to rescue and reform the creative Design & Art Direction (D&AD) institution. He died, aged 80, following a short illness.