Google will be the only component part of the media that grows this year. Attempting to keep up, Steve Ballmer of Microsoft insists that analogue media — newspapers, broadcast, that kind of thing — have 10 years left at best.
But on Planet Westminster, the old reflexes continue unhindered. The party leaders have initiated the bizarre rites deemed necessary to placate Rupert Murdoch ahead of an election.
So far as I can tell, this semi-public quadrennial ritual kicked off a fortnight ago. Here’s the chronology so far:
18 June: David Yelland, the former editor of the Sun, tells the world what Rupert Murdoch really wants to know about David Cameron, the prospective prime minister of Great Britain. In Murdoch’s words:
‘What does he really feel in his stomach? Is he going to be a new Thatcher, which is what the country needs? The UK desperately needs less government and freer markets.”
26 June: Ofcom rules that BSkyB — one of the few UK outposts of News Corp that actually generates profits — should offer its sports and film channels to rival broadcasters at ‘regulated prices”. BSkyB pledges to ‘use all available avenues’to contest Ofcom’s findings.
6 July: David Cameron, the prospective prime minister of Great Britain, makes a speech in which he promises to ‘take power away from the political elite’by restricting the power of Britain’s 790 quangos. In particular, Cameron promises that if he is elected, Ofcom ‘as we know it will cease to exist”.
Its remit will be restricted to its narrow technical and enforcement roles. It will no longer play a role in making policy. And the policy-making functions it has today will be transferred back fully to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Mr Murdoch? The ball’s in your court. . .