News of the World

Puttnam: Stop the BSkyB Takeover

Writing in Sunday's edition of The Observer, David Puttnam, a member of Britain's House of Lords, argues that events of last week should be used to prevent Rupert Murdoch's planned takeover of the satellite television network BSkyB. Puttnam notes that by 2016, BSkyB can expect to have revenues that add up to 220 percent of the BBC's. He says James Murdoch himself has described the scale and reach of the BBC as "chilling"—but a News Corp. in control of BSkyB would be many times larger than that, and would put to rest the very idea of a competitive media marketplace. Puttnam suggests that News Corp. be required to reduce its holdings of BSkyB to a noncontrolling 29.9 percent. Once that's done, he argues, "we can start the real ‘heavy lifting’ of putting a balanced and sustainable cross media ownership framework in place ... Should we fail to seize this moment to address the problem the chance may never come again."