Sky ‘Solus’ cards 

12 February 2004 tbs.pm/692

Shropshire Star confused ‘news’ report

Leave it to dire local news sheets to miss a point with such accuracy (can you hear the true story whistling as it passes their journalist’s ears?)

Many insults, most of them justified, are hurled at Sky. Some, again largely justified, are hurled at Tessa Jowell, an MP who doesn’t own a television, and, indeed, it appears, would need to have the function and appeal of the device pointed out to her, as she appears to have missed out on a revolution that started in the mid-1930s (politicians, tsk!)

But it’s interesting that neither the Shropshire Star nor the hapless Lembit Opik, a guy who’s too much of a rent-a-quote for his own good, have grasped that the real villains in this story are ITV, C4 and five.

All of these, largely unwatchable, channels were happy to be involved in the Solus scheme when it was being paid for by someone else (ie us, via the BBC).

Now the BBC is completely Free-To-Air and the responsibility lies on their own shoulders, they could cough up. It would cost them very little and the increased costs would be more than made up by grabbing that significant portion of viewers who don’t wish to pay for television beyond the reasonable and accepted licence fee.

But that would suggest that us viewers counted for anything. And we don’t.

So, no free TV for us, and it’s someone else’s fault. Heaven help anyone who blames the grasping commercial companies who think us viewers are scum. Obviously, it must be the BBC’s fault. Or Sky’s (because we don’t expect anything better of them). Or anyone other than Thatcher’s televisual terrestrial offspring.

A nice, if convoluted, easy answer. Anyone for tennis?

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