In direct competition with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, Comcast has entered the fray to take over UK satellite TV operator Sky.

Global media conglomerates aiming for the Sky

The ongoing tussle for the UK’s Sky represents a shift in media ownership and global content delivery strategies

Comcast’s bid to acquire UK satellite TV operator Sky is indicative of a global attempt to homogenise media experiences, suggested Tom Williams, CEO of Ostmodern.

He said: “Undoubtedly, the world of media and entertainment has seen a huge amount of consolidation over the past few years, with the big cable and telecom companies seeking to shore up their leadership positions by merging and acquiring other sector players.

“The news that Comcast has now entered the fray to take over Sky, in direct competition with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, is therefore not necessarily surprising.”

Fox already has a 39% stake in Sky, and has made an attempt to buy the rest of Sky it did not own — a move thus far blocked by UK regulators. This is in addition to Fox’s agreement to sell most of its assets to Disney.

If successful, Comcast’s acquisition of Sky will put the company in a “dominant position” in the global media ecosystem, and allow them to add digital services to its cable offering, as well as expand its footprint on a truly international stage, suggested Williams.

It would also secure Comcast’s place at the top of the over-the-top-(OTT) first broadcaster league table, predicted Jason Bradwell, director of products marketing, Massive Interactive.

Describing Comcast adopting an OTT-first mentality, he added: “With Sky recently announcing it’ll offer all of its services via IP by 2019, and plans for aggressive growth into Europe, Comcast is hedging its bets on securing prime position among a generation of users who favour cord-cutting.
“[Acquiring Sky] is also a move that’ll reshape Comcast’s content delivery and growth potential at such a volatile time in the industry. Deals like this will redefine the broadcast space as we know it.”

The battle lines have been drawn as media entities across the globe look to position themselves as the ultimate media platform — a one-stop shop for consumers to get all the services they need and more, said Ostmodern’s Williams. “For those companies that can combine more traditional pay-TV offerings with digital and OTT services, there is a huge opportunity to succeed in a crowded sector.

“The Comcast/Sky deal would prove to be a fascinating chapter in the ever-evolving story of the world of TV and media, and would certainly give its competitors cause to take stock.”

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