BSkyB paying £940m for 17.9% in ITV

Interesting to see that Sky have paid £940m in cash for ITV, which in their announcement they say they will “support ITV in any discussions to help build shareholder value”. I’m sure this has nothing to do whatsoever with NTL looking at buying the firm.

Interesting that James Murdoch says that they have no current plans to ask for a board seat and encourages the board to find a new Chief Exec. There’s lots of rumours that ITV have put on hold looking for a CE until an NTL tie-up is completed. Sky can only own a maximum of 20% of ITV according to the Comms Act so they’re not likely to put a bif in for the company (though legislation does change!) James, of course, has already said that an NTL/ITV merger would be a bad idea. They’ve also stated that they hadn’t had any discussions with the ITV board until after they had completed the transaction. Nice weekend suprise for the network centre!

The argument that it’s a good blocker deal, putting the kaibosh on the NTL transaction is obviously sound, but actually there might be some value in Sky actually encouraging the deal. If the deal goes through it potenitially makes Sky a significant shareholder in Virgin Media (the new ntl/Telewest/Virgin Mobile) and UK cable. This is something that could help their broadband drive as well as their subscription business.

Another knock-on effect maybe ITV’s relationship with the Freesat consortium – will they now be such a willing participant?

Popstars

Yesterday I went along to a One Network gig with Jamiroquai, obviously not with, but you know, to watch. It was at the Mean Fiddler, which is a fairly small venue and he was brilliant. It was a lovely relaxed gig and sung all his hits, no doubt to promote to his greatest hits, which is available in all good record shops (and probably some poor ones too).

Singing the hits is a good thing and it meant JK subscribed to my ideal concert situation which is any artist you go and see should only sing their hits and amusing covers. Now some may argue that this detracts from observing the inner artist and indeed if i’d actually bought the album i’d recognise the songs. I say no. In this iTunes world, we don’t have time to consume eight songs per album that are probably only fillers anyway.

It’s also been interesting to see occassional reader Helen “reviewing” two pop acts – Beyonce and Girl’s Aloud.

MySociety Makes Govt Website Useful

Hooray for MySociety, who i’ve talked about before. They’ve been working with Number 10 to create an ePetitions website that allows UK residents to create petitions and other citizens to sign them.

Some great things about the service;

1. They will list all petitions (even the ones that break the T&Cs) – this is very clever and great for transparent government .

2. After your petition has closed it gets a response from the minister responsible

3. It’s in beta – a phase that suggests it isn’t finished yet and will develop. Now, whilst this is a normal occurence for us technoliterates, it’s one of the first times that a government site has done this.

4. Overall it gives the Government a friendly, helpful face and provides a useful tool for citizens to engage with politics.