independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

One Vision tipped to win licence for latest paid-for TV

THE broadcasting regulator is expected to formally award the licence for the next generation of paid-for TV to the One Vision consortium early next week.

The development will come as a major relief to the regulator, which was severely wrong-footed by Boxer DTT's recent decision to walk away from the project it pledged to invest €165m in last summer.

Next week's anticipated announcement follows a meeting between all four parties in the One Vision consortium and Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) bosses on Tuesday.

At the meeting, TV3, Setanta, Eircom and UK broadcasting company Arqiva all told the BCI they remained willing and able to role out the new technology.

Notes on the meeting have now been sent to the BCI's directors ahead of their regular board meeting on Monday morning.

Negotiations

Barring any objections from board members, the commission is expected to formally award the contract to One Vision late on Monday or early on Tuesday and begin detailed negotiations. The contract will give One Vision control of the commercial side of the new Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform, which will eventually replace terrestrial television.

State broadcaster RTE is in charge of the public service part of DTT, and its networks arm RTENL will look after the technology. Difficulties in agreeing terms with RTENL were cited as a reason for Boxer DTT's withdrawal from the project, coupled with the changed "economic circumstances".

Monday's BCI board meeting is also scheduled to revisit the "ownership and control" of Denis O'Brien's radio group Communicorp.

Last July, the BCI concluded that Mr O'Brien's then stake of 25pc in Independent News & Media (IN&M) coupled with his radio interests did not present any cross-media ownership issues. At the time, Mr O'Brien who now owns 26.1pc in IN&M, had no influence on the board of INM.

Three new directors have since been appointed to the board prompting the BCI to revisit the issue.

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