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Television and Broadcasting

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Pay-TV Football Boom in Africa

GTV is pan-African pay-TV company which is building its offer around football, although it also has news and entertainment channels. Getting Premiership rights in a $30m three-year deal was crucial because of the prominence of so many African players in the competition. The studios of the channel are actually in Camden, North London, but this helps in terms of getting top players in for interview.

West Rules OK in Bundesliga

Not one side from the former East Germany (DDR) has won a Bundesliga title in the nineteen years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It looks like the wait could go on for quite a while, as Energie Cottbus are the old East's sole representative in the top flight and even their position is under threat - they are currently bottom of the division. After reunification, the only DDR sides in a financial condition to join the top flight were Dinamo Dresden and Hansa Rostock.

Setanta Seeks New Supremo As TV Rights Battle Looms

Setanta Sports is searching for a new chief executive of its British operations after the broadcaster fell foul of football fans for failing to sell highlights of England's win over Croatia to ITV. The broadcaster is also preparing to line up more cash from its shareholders, which include Goldman Sachs, to help to finance a bid to renew its Premiership television rights in the spring. Mark O'Meara, who was the chief operating officer running the British operation, has returned to his native Ireland where he will have a consultancy role.

Premiership Faces Political Challenge

The Premiership faces perhaps its biggest ever political challenge from what is in effect a combined front of the new culture secretary, Andy Burnham and FA chairman Lord Triesman. Everton supporter Burnham has been tipped as a possible future Labour leader and responding to the concerns expressed by some football fans should do him no political harm.

BT's Vision

BT shares have not been doing too well lately, not just because of the general state of the market, but because of concerns about topping up BT's pension fund. The former utility, still the leading fixed-line phone company in the UK, is looking for ways to boost its slowing revenue growth. This explains the importance of its face off with BSkyB over access to the satellite TV operator's premium content. Broadband has been BT's main domestic motor over the past five years, but the market is maturing. About 60 per cent of homes now have broadband.

Minor Set Back For Sky TV

Decisions by the media regulator Ofcom on live television rights represent a setback for Sky, but not the major blow they could have been. It has been proposed that the satellite television operator should sell its live football to rivals at regulated wholesale prices. But following an 18-month investigation, OfCom declined requests by BSkyB's rivals to immediately refer the company's allegedly unhealthy dominance of the pay TV market to the Competition Commissioner.

Bidders Line Up for Premiership TV Auction

Negotiations on the next Premiership television package are due to start in the first three months of 2009 and already potential bidders are lining up. The last three year deal covering the seasons to 2009-10 raised £1.7bn, 66 per cent more than in 2003. Packages are now sold separately to prevent any one company having a monopoly position and the last deal saw a 2:1 split of live matches between BSkyB and Setanta Sports.

England TV Highlights Mix-up

Pay television company Setanta took the unusual step last week of suspending its encryption technology so that fans could watch highlights of England's World Cup qualifying match against Croatia. The move meant that anyone with access to the channel on satellite, Freeview or cable television could watch the highlights at 11.30 p.m. (after the highlights from Scotland's game against Iceland). There had been criticism of the BBC and ITV for failing to reach a deal on the highlights with Setanta which had paid £5m for exclusive rights to broadcast the match live from Zagreb.

Bundesliga Faces Television Rights Battle

The Bundesliga, the German government and pay-TV company Premiere are locked in a three-way batle over the Bundesliga's exclusive TV rights for the future. The country's Federal Cartel Office has ruled that highlights from the Bundesliga's Saturday matches have to be available on free TV soon after the end of the day's actions and said that the big-money deal between the Bundesliga and Premiere has to be renegotiated. The more highlights that are available on free television, the less money Premiere has to pay for a deal.

Why The 39th Game Is Still On

Premiership chief executive Richard Scudamore still thinks that a 39th game played abroad is essential to secure the future of the competition. He argues that the only reason that the model of distribution of half the domestic rights income and all the foreign rights income equally is that 'the revenues are so large, enabling us to divide the income without the top clubs crying foul.