Thursday, January 21, 2010

What’s Incurring ?

We're incurring a lot for the media and I am now in an absolute lather about two very small sections of our society.

Investment bankers and top footballers have a lot in common. Both groups earn obscene amount of money, especially for what they contribute to society (and let any banker who thinks they work hard swap their life with a nurse for a week).

They also both live in unique bubbles: commercial markets where the actual companies operating in the market will compromise their own well being and that of the actual industry they operate in, in order to maintain the pay of these ‘rainmakers’.

If you take this logic to its conclusion, what is the value of a human life ? So, what should a nurse really be paid ? £30k is a human life £100k is a goal in the Premiership and £2m is the cost of fucking up yet another part of the UK's little remaining manufacturing industry. So many Brits took 'Wall St' as a training video...

I’m rattling on because BT has announced that it wants to take Sky on in the sports rights market. Despite its recent poor performance, it is amongst a handful of companies that could make a mark thanks to deep pockets and a reasonably unadulterated balance sheet.

This is bad news for footballers, a few hundred of whom earn obscene amounts. And as the world’s biggest sport club, Manchester United, discloses that it has three quarter of a billion of debt (what kind of regulations allow a company to be taken over and then saddled with the cost of the takeover – utter madness..) there are only two directions to go -unilateral rights or bankruptcy. I suspect Man U will be bust within five years with their moronic American owners.

The terraces are emptying, sponsors are more difficult to find, more and more clubs are going bankrupt, and the places where the bankers met the footballers (almost all Premiership clubs) just saddled the clubs with so much debt (so, I’m going to buy your company only after I promise it to the bank to pay for the debts I’m incurring) that they might not survive the downturn.

The net effect of this is actually likely to be changes to the collective bargaining that is unique to British soccer – in Italy and Spain clubs negotiate their own TV deals. This does benefit the bigger clubs, but it also creates a market. The collective bargaining in the UK will go within the next two years.

Of course, the same situation exists all over the world, from Australian rugby league and Aussie rules to the NFL in the US.

Sports remains the major driver in selling paid for TV subscriptions, even though only a minority of the population actually watch them.

So, the eagerly expected decision by OFCOM which might force Sky to share sports rights they exclusively hold is going to set the landscape for UK TV for a long time to come.

From their seemingly impregnable position, Sky are being pummelled on all fronts. Project Canvas will bring OTT functionality to Freeview boxes that Sky cannot currently match (indeed, Sky’s technical offering, so good in the past, has imploded recently, can I again mention that the Sky Player is utterly laughable even if I’m being kind ?). Everyone from Samsung to Orange wants a share of their market. And now the regulators are also taking them to task.

Who’d be a billionaire media mogul? Those overpaid fatcats at the BBC, who have no chance of a job in the rough and tumble are purrrring away... What will it take to put a talentless plutocrat like Alan Yentob out to pasture ? Oh, sorry a few million, obviously...

What's incurring? Well, we are... We'll be paying for all of this for years to come.