Comcast is Buying all of Sky TV
There’s always a bigger fish.
Whilst Sky TV might be one of the big dogs in the UK lets not forget they are actually quite small compared to the big predators of US TV.
Comcast, the owner of Xfinity cable, NBC, Telemundo, MSNBC, CNBC, USA Network, NBCSN and E! as well as the film studio Universal Pictures and Universal Parks & Resorts, has won a bidding war to buy Sky TV.
It has been announced that the bidding war is now over. Comcast won with an offer of $39 billion. Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox currently owns 39% of BSkyB. However, now it will unload this to Comcast for $15 billion. Comcast had, earlier in 2018, failed to pinch Fox from under Disney’s nose. Now 21st Century Fox/Disney will sell off their stake in BSkyB.
BSkyB shareholders have yet to formally vote on whether to accept Comcast's offer. Nevertheless, it would be a big surprise for it not to go through.
Reports indicate that Comcast plans to let Sky operate independently, at least for the time being. However, Comcast owns NBC and, as such, it wouldn't be a surprise if we start to see more NBC shows appearing on Sky.
BSkyB is the parent company of Sky TV, the UK's largest satellite TV provider. The company was created when British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) and Sky Television merged in 1990. Both BSB and Sky were struggling and a large part of that was because they were competing for the same small Pay TV market.
Until the mid 90’s Pay TV was a novel idea in the UK. In 1990, Channel 4 was only eight years old and Channel 5 wouldn't launch for another seven. TV, apart from the licence fee, had always been free. It seems strange today, with almost unlimited content, but in 1990 the idea of 5 channels was amazing so Sky TV and BSB lacked a fantastic selling point.
That was until the launch of the premier league in 1992. When the top flight of English football was the FA division 1, no games were shown live on TV. You either listened on the radio, watched at the ground or waited for Match Of The Day. The newly created BSkyB took a big bet and won the rights to show live English top-tier football games.
The bet paid off. BSkyB now had high demand content that viewers couldn't get anywhere else. Despite recently losing the exclusivity of the Premier League coverage and losing all the rights to Champions League football, both to BT TV, BSkyB still saw its profits grow.
However, Murdoch will finally lose any control over BSkyB. He is the owner of Fox News which was spun off when Disney bought 21st Century Fox. He also owns The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times in the UK and it will be interesting to see if he intends to keep these or will sell them off like BSkyB.
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