Sky Invests in Massive New Studios

Despite dire warnings about Brexit, Sky have unveiled plans to build a 32-acre TV and film studio in Elstree. A new dawn is breaking for Sky…

The huge development will be able to facilitate production of several films and TV shows at the same time, with 14 impressive sound stages; and will go ahead with the international backing of US media giants Comcast (Sky’s owner) and NBCUniversal. The Sky’s the limit…

Sky’s CEO Jeremy Darroch said of the development that “Sky Studios Elstree will play a pivotal role in bringing the wealth of UK and European talent and creativity to the world.” Not that you’d necessarily know that from Sky’s Brexit coverage…

Runners & Riders: Sky Pol Ed

After four years at Sky as political editor, Faisal Islam is off to the BBC to become their economics editor. As ever Guido brings you likely runners & riders:

Beth Rigby – she wants it and many viewers think she’s already the pol ed. Must be in with a good chance.

Sophy Ridge – conflicting information as to if she really wants the job, which entails being on the road a lot, given a young child at home. Sky are a progressive employer so they would want to make it work for her. No doubt she could do it.

Chris Mason – if Sky wants to get one back from the BBC Mason would be an obvious choice. Mason might feel that Laura Kuenssberg is going to be in position for a long time and this is a chance for promotion and more money. Is rumoured to be interested in a move.

Nick Watt – again Sky could get their own back on the BBC by pinching Nick from Newsnight. Is he tired of the late nights?

Ross Hawkins – seems a bit frustrated on BBC radio. Could be interested.

Tom Newton-Dunn – a regular on Sky’s late night paper review, Tom’s enthusiasm for appearing on television is well known. Not sure if Sky’s executives share his enthusiasm…

Lewis Goodall – just too young, too Labour and too irritating?

Paul Brand – if Sky were to cast their net further afield – ITV’s political correspondent has had a few eye catching scoops lately.

Ed Conway – Impressive journalist and writes authoritatively about economics. During elections he has covered politics well. Guido’s outside bet.

Amol Rajanhas not publicly ruled himself out for the job.

Wake Up With Ridge on Sunday

In a quick response to to Andrew Marr’s hurried announcement yesterday that his Sunday show is moving to ten o’clock, Ridge is grabbing the nine o’clock slot. Of course Peston has beaten them both by retreating to Wednesday nights. This all brings back memories of the great morning email wars of of 2017.* Smart move. Ridge will now be more likely to set the agenda…

*Won by Politico’s Jack Blanchard.

Murdoch’s De-Risked With Disney

Tom Watson can barely contain himself: “This is the end of an era for the Murdochs who after decades of aggressive empire expansion are now in retreat.” The left is celebrating because their blood enemy of half-a-century is “in retreat”. If it is a retreat then it is a luxurious one. Disney is paying $52 billion for the Fox assets Murdoch is selling, which includes Sky in the UK. It pleases Rupert’s legion of enemies that he has lost the battle for total control of Sky…

As some of the more sober analysis on the business pages has noted, Fox stock is up 30% since the bid speculation started; Murdoch is selling at the top. Disney is gearing up for a streaming war with Netflix, Amazon and Apple. Content libraries are the key weapon in that war. Fox is getting a full premium for that treasure without the risk of becoming a casualty. Rupert could again – as he was at the dawn of satellite television – be ahead of the game. The billions in profits generated by Sky may dazzle investors now; those with more vision can see that the future of universal fast broadband and the shift to mobile means this tsunami of subscription revenue could recede very quickly. The Pay TV assets Murdoch has sold to Disney could never have it better…

Murdoch still has control of Fox News, the most lucrative news channel on earth. He still has News Corp’s newspapers around the world and a big chunk of Mickey Mouse’s stock. Fox also now has billions in cash and cash flow with which to make Murdoch’s next move…

UPDATE: Murdoch tells Maria Bartiromo that he wants to be out of entertainment and in real-time news:

Taylor Report Coverage Hijacked by Union Sock Puppets

Coverage of this morning’s Taylor review of the gig economy was hijacked by Corbynista trade union activists, Guido can reveal. Sky News and the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme interviewed two Deliveroo riders, each of whom were presented as representative of ordinary workers, but are in fact hard-left organisers for the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB). Meanwhile, Wired ran a piece headlined “a courier’s view” written by another IWGB organiser. The union supported Corbyn’s leadership bid, and both Corbyn and McDonnell has spoken on IWGB demos. Like the wheel of a Deliveroo bicycle, all the contributors did was spin…

The rider featured in Wired, Guy McClenahan, refers to himself on social media as a “communist“. He branded Conservative voters “c****” and suggested Theresa May wants to hunt poor people with dogs. Wired neglect to provide this context…

Ben Geraghty, captioned on Sky as a “Deliveroo driver“, has been referred to by the IWGB as “one of our key activists“. He has been supported by the highly controversial anarchist Class War group who smashed up a Shoreditch cafe in response to the “gentrification” of the area. No mention of that in the Sky interview…

Megan Brown, captioned on Victoria Derbyshire as “courier for food delivery company” is in fact the IWGB courier branch chair. Buzzfeed reported that she took Deliveroo to court. She’s also given quotes about her work with the union to the Telegraph. The only thing these couriers deliver is their union’s lines…

Murdoch’s Sky Takeover

The usual bed-wetters will freak out at the news that Rupert Murdoch is offering £18.5 billion for the 60.9% of Sky that 21st Century Fox does not already control. Sky shares jumped 32% on the news. Before Murdoch was rudely interrupted by the Leveson Inquiry he was poised to take control of Sky. Expect the BBC-Guardian axis to go into meltdown. After Brexit and Trump, Rupert getting control of the rest of Sky will just be the icing on the cake for luvvies and snowflakes across the land…

Sturgeon Ducks Chopper Question

Nicola Sturgeon faced a grilling from Kay Burley this afternoon following Guido’s revelations about the SNP’s helicopter spending during the general election. Sturgeon didn’t answer the key point that the chopper was used to campaign for local candidates…

Hot-Take on Borxit

Back of the Net! Another Big Murdoch Money Deal For Coogan

Murdoch-hating coke and hookers aficionado Steve Coogan has an impressive record of slagging off Rupe while taking his money. Coogan has banged on about “Rupert Murdoch’s toxic legacy” and the “News International protection racket” for years, all while selling his shows Places of My Life and Mid Morning Matters to Sky for top whack. What do you know, Coogan has just agreed to trouser even more of the ‘Murdoch shilling’:

“Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are taking their fine dining, gentle bickering, ruminations on getting old and endless impersonations of Michael Caine to Sky TV. After two highly successful series of The Trip on BBC2, the third series will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic.”

Back in 2012, Guido bumped into Coogan at a Hacked Off rally and asked him if he thought the deals made him a massive hypocrite. He comically disagreed:

“I am aware of it but I see a flipside, I think it makes me even braver. It would be even more hypocritical if I took his money and didn’t criticise him. What I’m doing puts me in even more danger.”

Congratulations Steve on your bravery and your pay cheque!

How Lefties Lose Immigration Debate

Fair to say Sky News could have found a better proponent of the pro-immigration argument than the hapless Mr Butt…

The Sky News General Affection Song

Who’s going to get it on?

Ed Brought to ‘Heal’

Despite Ed’s heavy coaching ahead of last nights debate, he still didn’t have a decent answer to the brother bother. Asked about division in the Miliband family, Ed rather optimistically claimed the rift with David was “healed,” before, realising how implausible that sounded and quickly changing that to “healing”. Kay Burley had the most memorable moment of the night with her ‘your poor mum’ zinger:

Perhaps Ed should have spent a little less time practicing saying ‘hell yeah’ on Skype to Axelrod and a little more time working out a plausible explanation for breaking his mother’s heart…

C4/Sky Live Leaders Interviews Next Thursday

Guido hears that both the PM and Ed Miliband are in for the Paxo/Kay Burley grilling next Thursday (26 March).

Live 90 min show, 9pm on Sky and Channel 4. Location TBC.

Seen Elsewhere



Tip offs: 020 7193 4041
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Appearing on BBC Radio West Midlands this morning, the Prime Minister was asked: “What are you getting Carrie for Christmas?”

Boris: “I’m going to get Brexit done”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.