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21/07/2020 23:27:48  

The second instalment of this three-part series covers the scandal that left Rupert ‘humbled’ – and nearly destroyed his UK newspaper business

At the beginning of part two of The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty (BBC Two), the question of succession seems to have been parked, if not settled. In 2003, Rupert Murdoch’s youngest son, James, is installed as chair of the satellite broadcaster BSkyB. Accusations of nepotism dog the appointment – James’s main qualification seems to be his surname, his main talent finding ways to tell reporters he is too busy to talk to them – but an heir has apparently been found.

A few years later, elsewhere in the empire, another star is rising: in 2009, the editor of the Sun, Rebekah Wade, marries the racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks. The wedding reception, attended by Murdoch and various top politicians eager to curry favour, has the romantic atmosphere of the lunch break at an arms fair. Before the year is out, Wade – now Brooks – will become CEO of News International.

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20/11/2019 13:27:41  

With the new stadium to pay for, the Spurs chairman is reliant on Champions League revenue to balance the books and has acted with brutal swiftness in removing Mauricio Pochettino

The lament that football has traded its soul for money has been associated with a departing manager of Tottenham Hotspur long before Mauricio Pochettino was sacked five months after taking the club to a miraculous Champions League final. The famous quote from Keith Burkinshaw, as he walked away from White Hart Lane in 1985 despite having won the Uefa Cup, was attributed to him by the veteran sportswriter Ken Jones: “There used to be a football club over there.”

Burkinshaw was working at a club which had sought to exploit new money coming into football by becoming the first to float on the stock market, bypassing the game’s century-old restrictions on owners making money out of clubs. Seven years later Alan Sugar had a vote as the Spurs owner to select BSkyB as the exclusive pay-TV broadcaster for the Premier League over free-to-air ITV, at the same time that Sugar’s company Amstrad was making the satellite dishes.

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21/08/2019 08:20:21  

Biggest recruiters for techies remain AWS, NHS and BSkyB Group

IT job postings in the UK are being battered by Brexit and the lingering uncertainty of leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement on 31 October.…

28/12/2018 01:09:54  

Then home secretary Michael Howard ignored request not to attend media mogul’s dinner

Michael Howard refused to “catch a diplomatic chill” as home secretary so he could avoid a dinner with Rupert Murdoch that John Major had urged his cabinet to swerve, papers reveal.

The “jamboree” was to launch new BSkyB channels, but at the time, Murdoch’s UK newspapers were reporting unfavourably on Major’s leadership, files released at the National Archives show.

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19/07/2018 20:12:50  

Five-year deal will boost Sky in its battle against BT Sport – but does not include Sky Atlantic, home to Game of Thrones

Virgin Media has struck a five-year deal to carry BSkyB's TV channels – but once again failed to reach agreement to offer Sky Atlantic, home to big name shows including Game of Thrones.

The new deal, a significant extension of the existing three-year deal the two TV companies have in place, is the latest move in the battle against BT Sport.

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19/07/2018 19:12:34  

Telecoms giant strikes three-year deal to offer its Premier League and other coverage to 4 million more potential viewers

BT has struck an £200m-plus deal to offer its sports channels to Virgin Media's 4 million TV customers, as the pay-TV rivals bury the hatchet to increase the pressure on BSkyB.

The three year deal, which has been estimated to be worth between £60m and £75m a year according to City sources, will see Virgin customers gain access to BT Sport 1 and 2 as well as ESPN.

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12/07/2018 13:23:52  

News Corporation move to take full control of satellite broadcaster rejected as 'undervaluing company'

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has made a bid to take full control of BSkyB – an offer that has been rebuffed by the satellite broadcaster's board.

The approach, made last week and valuing BSkyB at close to £12bn, is understood to have been rejected by management as undervaluing the company. News Corporation already owns a 39% stake in the broadcaster.

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11/05/2018 07:44:48  

Ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid star's role will include promoting channels' grassroots Living for Sport initiative

David Beckham is to become an ambassador for BSkyB, in what the broadcaster described as a "long-term partnership" that will involve the former England football captain supporting its work to encourage grassroots sport across the UK and Ireland.

Beckham, now playing for France's Ligue 1 leaders Paris St-Germain, will also feature in advertising promoting Sky's sports coverage and other services.

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08/05/2018 07:37:37  

Robert Nisbet, one of the rising stars of BBC News, has quit the corporation to join Sky News as its first-ever lifestyle correspondent.

Nisbet, who made his name on BBC's now defunct showbusiness bulletin Liquid News, is the BBC's Olympic correspondent.

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14/12/2017 15:26:30  

Rupert Murdoch’s Disney deal puts the focus back on his sons, James and Lachlan, and the question of family succession

For the past 20 years Rupert Murdoch’s youngest son has worked for the family business. When the Disney deal receives official approval, 45-year-old James will depart the family firm – either to join the rival media company or to strike out on his own – marking a major split in the dynasty. His father’s News Corp conglomerate bought his start-up hip hop label Rawkus Records in the 1990s but he first earned his spurs at the media group by successfully running Asian TV business Star. By 30 he was head of Sky (then known as BSkyB) in the UK, where his star continued to rise.

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04/12/2017 03:24:44  

Six men are suing Sky TV after they took part in a reality TV show in which they competed to win the affections of a beautiful woman - who later turned out to be a man waiting for a sex-change operation.

The contestants have instructed law firm Schillings, which specialises in media cases, to begin legal proceedings against Sky One and the show's producer, independent company Brighter Pictures.

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22/11/2017 06:14:05  

New company, which drops words ‘British’ and ‘Broadcasting’ from name, has £11bn in revenues and 20 million customers

BSkyB is to scrap the word “British” from its branding after almost 25 years as the company completes an ambitious transformation into a pan-European pay TV giant following the £6.88bn buyout of its sister companies in Germany and Italy.

The enlarged company, which is 39.1% controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, will revert to the Sky name that Murdoch used when launching into the UK pay-TV market at the end of the 1980s.

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05/10/2017 08:38:34  

Greed was the foundation stone of the Premier League, so we can hardly be surprised by an outbreak of further avarice over overseas television income

First they came for the Football League. And I did not speak up. Because I was not the Football League. Then they came for an outmanoeuvred Greg Dyke, blown out of the water by BSkyB’s covert second TV rights bid. And I did not speak up. Because I was not an outmanoeuvred Greg Dyke.

Finally, a quarter of a century later, they came for Premier League clubs outside the top six via a potentially divisive rejig of overseas TV-rights income. And this time I did speak out. Because I was Crystal Palace, Burnley, Huddersfield Town and everyone else who stands to lose something from the innate financial elitism of the Premier League being turned, finally, upon itself.

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04/10/2017 17:37:38  

• The Premier League is a very important partner of ours, says Facebook chief • Major tech companies expected to join rights battle for 2019-2022

Facebook has refused to rule out entering the bidding to stream live Premier League matches following mounting speculation over a looming rights battle.

Ed Woodward, Manchester United’s vice-chairman, told investors in New York last week that Facebook and Amazon were interested in the last round of Premier League rights deals for 2016-19, which were sold primarily to BSkyB and BT for £8.4bn, and predicted that the tech companies will enter the next auction, which covers the 2019-22 period.

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21/09/2017 19:16:22  

• Tech companies’ interest will escalate financial boom for top clubs
• Ed Woodward announces record income made by United

The internet giants Amazon and Facebook are likely to bid for Premier League football streaming rights, which will further escalate the huge financial boom for England’s top clubs, the Manchester United vice-chairman has said.

In his quarterly call with bank executives who invest in United’s shares on the New York stock exchange, Ed Woodward said the technology companies were very interested in the last round of rights deals for 2016-19, which the Premier League sold primarily to BSkyB and BT for £8.4bn.

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12/09/2017 20:15:01  

At last a Conservative culture secretary who dares to stand up to Rupert Murdoch. Now it is up to the competition watchdog to prove its worth

Congratulations Karen Bradley! The secretary of state for culture, media and sport has become the first Conservative in office since John Major to stand up to Rupert Murdoch in his quest to expand his global media empire. Mrs Bradley had been considering the bid by 21st Century Fox, effectively controlled by the Murdoch family, to buy the remaining 61% of Sky, the pan-European broadcaster and internet services provider, that it does not already own. She had been minded to refer the bid on the grounds of media plurality to the competition watchdog – the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) – on the advice of the broadcasting regulator Ofcom, the prospect of which would hardly cause Mr Murdoch much lost sleep, since his companies relish scrapping with dominant web giants like Google. When it came to broadcasting standards, Ofcom dismissed concerns over the Murdochs’ commitment to the taste and truthfulness of his companies’ output. Yet the culture secretary disagreed, saying “non-fanciful concerns” about the Murdochs’ commitment to standards meant she would have to refer the deal to the competition regulator on these grounds, too.

This opens up a new front against Mr Murdoch, who has expressed a wish to make Sky News – an impartial broadcaster – more like Fox News, a highly partisan rightwing US outlet accused of peddling conspiracy theories and fake news. The “Foxification” of Murdoch’s UK news station is something, the culture secretary correctly points out, that should be investigated. What is remarkable is that Mrs Bradley has done the right thing by looking at the questions of character, culture and criminality that the rest of the world fixates on when dealing with the Murdochs. Ofcom, on the other hand, has questions to answer about its apparent naivety in dealing with the takeover. When Ofcom discovered that Fox News had no code of compliance despite broadcasting in this country, it allowed Fox to produce one and abide by it. Just a day after Fox News put in a place its code, it ran a false story, politically significant in the US, besmirching the reputation of a murdered Democratic National Committee official, saying he had been a traitor. The story was retracted a week later, but four months on, no action has been taken against those responsible. There has been no apology to the dead man’s family, who publicly explained that claims of treason had added to their grief. In August Fox News, acting CEO Rupert Murdoch, was taken off air in Britain. If actions can be interpreted as an admission of wrongdoing, then Fox News is guilty. But so is Ofcom. The regulator failed first to police Fox News and then to recognise that the legal threshold for referring the bid on grounds of broadcasting standards was low, and easily met in the case of the Murdochs. That was a mistake by Ofcom – and one the culture secretary could not repeat.

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31/08/2017 07:44:40  

Pictures that tell the story of Sky TV's first 20 years - taking in Rupert Murdoch, Bart Simpson, Teddy Sheringham and Jack Bauer along the way Continue reading...
15/07/2017 21:35:11  

Peers issue warning over media mogul’s bid to buy TV network

One of the “largest and most sophisticated datasets in the country” – including the TV viewing, internet and phone records of 13 million households – could be misused for political purposes if Rupert Murdoch is allowed to proceed with his plan to buy out Sky, six members of the House of Lords claim in a letter to the Observer.

The government’s decision on whether to allow the takeover of the broadcaster by Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox may come as early as next week, but a cross-party group of peers led by the film-maker David Puttnam – who was involved in drafting the 2003 Telecommunications Act – have joined forces to highlight what they say is a significant oversight with potentially huge ramifications. Fox currently owns 39% of Sky.

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29/06/2017 13:41:12  

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt minded to refer the takeover bid to the Competition Commission, but will first consider 'undertakings' from News Corp

News Corp lays ground for judicial review of BSkyB verdict
Dan Sabbagh: Hunt buys himself time over News Corp decision

Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, today confirmed he is taking more time to consider "undertakings" from News Corporation to allow its takeover bid for BSkyB to go ahead.

Hunt said that on the evidence provided by media regulator Ofcom, he considered the merger "may operate against the public interest in media plurality" and intended to refer it to the Competition Commission.

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27/06/2017 16:41:41  

Jeremy Darroch confirms Now TV is aimed at viewers wanting to upgrade to an internet-connected service

BSkyB's new £9.99 Now TV set-top box is targeted at budget conscious Freeview households looking to upgrade to an internet-connected television service, the company's chief executive has confirmed.

Jeremy Darroch said on Friday that the new low cost set-top box was aiming at Freeview consumers who might be thinking of upgrading to rival internet-connected TV services offered by TalkTalk and BT – stopping just short of admitting it is a "YouView killer".

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27/06/2017 15:40:31  

Content now available via internet service Now TV for £9.99 a day without Sky subscription

BSkyB has made its sports channels available on a pay-as-you go basis for the first time, providing access to content such as Premier League football for £9.99 a day without a Sky TV subscription from Tuesday.

BSkyB has launched Sky Sports on Now TV, its new internet TV service, marking a radical departure for the company which has spent more than 20 years building its business model on monthly subscription packages of at least £42.50.

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13/06/2017 10:04:49  

Leveson inquiry revelations have failed to draw a line under the phone hacking scandal

If the Murdochs – or the government – were hoping this week's evidence before the Leveson inquiry would draw a temporary line under the phone-hacking affair, they may be disappointed. Two unresolved events mean that the scandal will remain in the headlines into next week.

First, Jeremy Hunt continues to fight for his political career after the emergence on Tuesday of a cache of emails between his office and News Corp over the company's bid for the remaining part of BSkyB it does not already own.

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19/05/2017 17:53:26  

The idea that participation in Europe’s top club competition is less important to England’s top flight because of TV money dissolves on analysis

There is an emerging school of thought that qualification for the European Champions League is no longer quite the financial and commercial boost that it used to be, given the galactic increase in Premier League TV money showering fortunes on all 20 clubs from 2016-19.

It is true the increase in the English top flight’s broadcasting deals, from £5.1bn in 2013-16 to £8.4bn in the present three-year cycle, is a dramatic windfall – inflated at home by BT’s serious designs on BSkyB’s 25-year subscriber stranglehold and internationally by increased coverage of the Premier League on channels all over the world. However, the idea Champions League participation is now less important dissolves on analysis because it misses several crucial elements – as well as the actual figures, which show it remains a lucrative earner for the top clubs.

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17/05/2017 12:54:42  

Former Sky Sports chief who helped mould television coverage of the Premier League at its inception 25 years ago

Vic Wakeling, who has died aged 73, led a revolution in the way British television covered football through the Sky Sports channels after the creation of the Premier League in 1992. Between 1990 and 2009 he was one of the architects of the commercial success of BSkyB (now rebranded as Sky), through his steely focus on providing services that millions of armchair fans proved willing to pay for.

But the key to his success really lay in his grounding as a newspaper journalist in the north-east of England. Like Rupert Murdoch, his boss and admirer, he was forged in the era of hot metal. Together, they imported the shared competitive values of popular newspapers – where you prove yourself daily – into the closed world of television sport, formerly dominated by a complacent BBC and ITV.

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16/05/2017 14:53:18  

BSkyB's Vic Wakeling, who is retiring in June, was critical to the development of both British football and the UK media

When the histories of British football and media in the late 20th century come to be written, a softly spoken Geordie sports fanatic with a steely competitive streak will occupy a significant position in both.

The announcement of Vic Wakeling's retirement in June, long rumoured but yesterday confirmed by BSkyB, has trained a spotlight that he has spent much of his career evading on the role he played in two significant transformations.

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