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Latest Satellite News Discussion, New Thompson: Sky should pay retrans fees at General Satellite News forum; Thompson: Sky should pay retrans fees By Julian Clover Published: August 28, 2010 09.22 Europe/London BBC director-general Mark Thompson has ...

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New Thompson: Sky should pay retrans fees - 28-August-2010, 20:20

Thompson: Sky should pay retrans fees

By Julian Clover
Published: August 28, 2010 09.22 Europe/London

BBC director-general Mark Thompson has said UK broadcasters should be paid to be present on the Sky Digital platform. Delivering the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Thompson reversed an argument made by Rupert Murdoch that resulted in the Fox Television network receiving retransmission fees from US cable.

Fox originally asked Time Warner for $1 a month per subscriber in exchange for the right to re-transmit the Fox network, said Thompson. At that level, Sky would be paying 75m a year to get the equivalent of Fox. Given the rather greater popularity of Channel 4, ITV and Channel Five in this market, Sky could perhaps afford to be even a little bit more generous!

Thompson said he was not arguing that the BBC should receive a payment as it was funded by a universal licence fee and should be available on all platforms at no charge to either party. Instead retrans fees should be introduced for the commercial public broadcasters that invest in UK production.

Under BSkyBs published ratecard, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five each pay 21,000 per annum for the listing of each of their channels in the Sky EPG and a further 6,000 for each regional variation. There are currently 18 regional variations to BBC One.

While praising its contribution to news and the arts, Thompson criticised the lack of investment by Sky in original drama. Its great that theyre announcing a few more drama commissions. But its time that Sky pulled its weight by investing much, much more in British talent and British content.

Thompson said that estimates put Skys non-news, non-drama budget at an annual 100 million, slightly ahead of Channel Five, even though its turnover was 15 times greater.


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