...a blog by Richard Flowers

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Day 2465: Cat-Monsters Not So Tough


It turns out that the SABRE-TOOTHED CAT MONSTER – of whom I am NOT in any way afraid – may have been less of a TIGER and more of a PUSSY-CAT.

Scientists have used computers to create a model of the Cat Monster's skull and jaws and famous TEETH and deduced that its bite was only about a THIRD as powerful as a MODERN LION.

Er… hang on, that means LION MONSTERS are EVEN MORE SCARY! Where is Mr Stripy; I need a hug!

Speaking of TOOTHLESS, the Competition Commission has issued a bit of a slap to Mr Rodger Stavro Moredick's Sky Empire over their purchase of seventeen-and-a-bit percent of ITV.

You may remember that Sky snapped up a chunk of ITV in a BLOCKING MANOEUVRE to stop Virgin Media from taking over the venerable terrestrial commercial channel. Er, I mean, as A SOUND INVESTMENT in a promising industry… an investment that has so far lost them TWO-HUNDRED-MILLION pounds as ITV's share price has continued DOWNWARDS.

Virgin Media today welcomed the announcement:

"Sky should not be permitted to remain in a position where there is any question whatsoever about its ability to influence ITV," said a spokesperson.

After all, that's what Virgin wanted to do!

(Not that the Virgin Group EVER holds a grudge… those NICE people at British Airways will testify to that!)

In fact, the Commission does have a point. We benefit from a VARIETY of different providers of television in competition with each other. The BBC is funded by the Licence Fee; ITV is funded by a few pennies on everything you buy in the shops (what, you thought that the advertising money came from the companies?); Sky and Virgin are funded directly – though they take some of those advertising pennies too.

That competition OUGHT to drive them to make BETTER programmes as they try to attract a TV audience that will justify the advertisers' investment / the licence fee money / the subscriptions of their viewers.

Sky's share in ITV – the Commission said – put them in a position to take advantage of a rival. They could sabotage deals for ITV to get better television (say, by seeing a bid for sports coverage before ITV could submit it and then topping it by a pound).

Not that they ever WOULD do such a thing, but the danger would have been there!

Those IMPARTIAL people at Virgin called for "strong penalties" to put an end to the "problem".

The case, though, has been referred to Mr Frown's Secretary of State for Tripe and Infamy, Mr John Hutton (dressed as Lamb).

I am sure that Mr Moredick will want to clear up any UNCERTAINTY that this might cause – especially with the possibility of a General Election so soon! No doubt he and the government will be able to WORK SOMETHING OUT.

So long as the Competition Commission's BARK is – like the Sabre-Toothed Cat Monster's – worse than it's BITE, Mr Moredick is bound to remain the KING of the BEASTS.

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