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Volume 6 No. 215


U.K. pay-TV company BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owns a 39% stake, "has quietly unveiled a new broadband promotion amid an intensifying rivalry with telecom giant BT," according to George Szalai of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. BSkyB announced that "it would offer free DSL service for a year" (a value of $140) or free fibre-based broadband for six months ($189) to "new broadband subscribers who also take its Sky Sports TV package." Under the promotion, new broadband subscribers who do not take Sky Sports "will get DSL broadband for half the normal price for a year, compared to a previous half-price offer for half a year." BT last month announced that its three new sports channels "would be offered free to its 5 million-plus broadband subscribers." When BT unveiled its offer, "some analysts and investors were concerned that BSkyB could launch a big, broad-based discount offer in retaliation." Financial firm UBS analyst Polo Tang said, "Investors will be relieved that BSY is not going for the 'nuclear option' and re-pricing its entire base. Rather it is using a tactical promotion for a finite period" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/17).

U.K. communications regulator Ofcom ruled that swearing broadcast during the BBC's live coverage of the annual Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge "was inappropriate for viewers of a traditional sporting event shown on a Sunday afternoon," according to Jason Deans of the London GUARDIAN. The word "f***ing" was "broadcast live three times" during live BBC1 Boat Race coverage hosted by Clare Balding just before and after 5pm on March 31, "after it was picked up from the Oxford cox's microphone." Ofcom reminded the BBC and other broadcasters to take all "proportionate measures" to prevent swearing being transmitted during live coverage before the 9pm watershed. The BBC said that from next year, "a dedicated member of the production team will have sole responsibility to monitor the cox microphone feeds to identify any offensive language." More than one instance of offensive language "will result in the microphone being cut during the Boat Race" (GUARDIAN, 6/17).

A "fierce bidding war" for the TV rights to the FA Cup "looks likely after four broadcasters submitted bids" to the FA in the first round, according to Robert Budden of the FINANCIAL TIMES. BT and ITV "currently share the rights" to the FA Cup until the end of the '13-14 season. On Friday, both "submitted bids for the next set of rights, which run through the '17-18 season." Citing people with knowledge of the process, the two companies have been joined by BSkyB and the BBC "in a development, which analysts predict could significantly push up the cost of the rights." Analysts said that the BBC "had decided to table a bid as it looks to increase the amount of live football on the public service broadcaster’s TV schedules." Industry newsletter TV Sports Markets Editor Frank Dunne said, "We understand that the BBC is concerned about its lack of live football during the regular football season." But analysts expect that BT and BSkyB "will bid most aggressively for the rights" (FT, 6/17).

Premiership Rugby confirmed that BT Sport will screen the World Club 7s live from Twickenham on Aug. 17-18. The tournament brings together, for the first time, some of the biggest names in club and provincial rugby from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, together with some of the emerging names in the Sevens game. The tournament is then set to expand further in '14 and '15 as Sevens Rugby heads toward its debut at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and will include the strongest club and provincial teams in the world qualifying through domestic Sevens championships (Premiership Rugby).

German free-to-air TV channel Sport1 "has recorded outstanding ratings for its broadcast of the Confederations Cup," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. On Sunday, an average of 680,000 viewers tuned in to watch Sport1's broadcast of the game between Mexico and Italy. In the target demographic 14-49, Italy's 2-1 victory obtained a 2.8% market share. The tournament's opening game on Saturday between Japan and host nation Brazil attracted 460,000 viewers. In addition, German public broadcaster ZDF "received disappointed ratings for its Confed Cup game broadcast." The game between Spain and Uruguay attracted a total of 330,000 viewers, which translated into a market share of 5%. In the target demographic, Spain's 2-1 victory had a 4.4% share (DWDL, 6/17).

FOUR IN ROW: DWDL's Krei also reported Sport1 "received convincing ratings for its broadcast of the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) Finals Game 3 on Sunday evening." A total of 320,000 viewers tuned in to watch Brose Baskets Bamberg win its fourth consecutive BBL title with a 91-88 win in overtime against EWE Baskets Oldenburg. In the target demographic, Bamberg's three-game sweep recorded a 3.7% share (DWDL, 6/17).

DWDL's Krei reported ZDF "obtained only average ratings for its broadcast of the Gerrry Webber Open final between Roger Federer and Mikhail Youzhny on Sunday afternoon." Federer's three-set victory (6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4) attracted 630,000 viewers. Federer's sixth Gerry Weber Open title had a 5.8% market share (DWDL, 6/17).

TELECINCO: TELEMANIA reported the Spanish national football team's Confederations Cup victory over Uruguay on Sunday reached an audience of up to 5.6 million people, with a 47.7% market share for Telecinco. The "golden minute" of the match was viewed by 7.04 million people. Sunday's other Confederations Cup match, between México and Italy, attracted an audience of 2.4 million, for a 15.3% market share (TELEMANIA, 6/17).

German media corp. ProSiebenSat.1, which has the exclusive broadcast rights to the X Games Munich, will unlock its pay-TV ProSieben FUN to enable people without pay-TV access to watch the event. ProSiebenSat.1 TV & SevenSenses GmbH Managing Dir Zeljko Karajica said, "The X Games do not only stand for extreme sports but also for extremely great entertainment. Together with our distribution partners Unitymedia in North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse as well as Kabel BW in Baden-Württemberg, we will unlock ProSieben FUN in their respective cable networks during the event." The X Games Munich competition will take place at the city's Olympic Park between June 27-30. Athletes will compete in skateboarding, BMX, mountain biking, rally car and Moto X (ProSiebenSat.1).