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Television and Broadcasting

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Premiership Money Bonanza

Forecasts that the Premiership bubble would burst in the credit crunch increasingly look premature, if not misplaced altogether. The Premier League has secured a record television deal that will be worth almost £1.8 billion over three years. The 5 per cent increase over the last deal will bolster finances of clubs until 2013 when the deal ends. By that time, even on the most pessimistic estimates, the recession should be over.

Sky Seals TV Deal

Sky has paid more than £1bn to secure its position as the main Premiership broadcaster. The company is believed to have kept its hold on the majority of live games, 92 out of the 138 matches available, by retaining its four existing packages. No figures are known, but it is believed that the company will have paid close to the current £1.314 billion. The Premiership will now go to a second round on the two outstanding packages, an auction thought to involve Sky, Setanta and ESPN, the Disney-owned broadcaster. Under EU rules, Sky is allowed a maximum of five out of the six packages.

TV Bidding War Is On

Just before Christmas officials from the FA Premier League sent out invitations to brodacasters to tender for the television rights for the three seasons starting in August 2010. Last time the value of the rights increased by 60 per cent, but no one is expecting such a big increase this time, although the Premiership is still hoping for a small increase. A blind auction for the rights will take place in the spring.

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.