BSkyB Mulls Tiscali UK Offer To Boost Broadband Market Share

BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) has raised the prospect of buying its ISP rival Tiscali’s UK arm to offer broadband to reach customers beyond its TV subscriber base. CFO Andrew Griffith told a UBS investor conference yesterday (via “At the moment, we only address nine million homes, so Sky broadband products… only speak to customers who are willing to take the TV offering. Something like Tiscali would allow us to extend our offering and our services in a scale industry to another 16 million households, and that potentially could have value.” According to Reuters, Griffith then qualified this statement by saying that Sky was confident of meeting its targets with or without any acquisitions and looked at broadband acquisitions through a “pretty sceptical gaze”.

Italian-owned Tiscali confirmed it was in talks with the satcaster last month but until now BSkyB has kept quiet on the deal – Griffith’s fence-sitting can almost be construed as firm interest. Tiscali’s 2.4 million subscribers would no doubt be a welcome boost to Sky, which has about 1.79 million, as spending on paid TV services dips in these hard times. But whether the reported £500 million price tag will be low enough for Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch to agree to, remains to be seen.

— Sky’s head of OnDemand services Griff Parry says in an interview with that the the company is, like most broadcasters, looking into getting content on next-gen games consoles but warns that for the PS3 at least there could be DRM issues. The man behind the Sky Player’s recent expansion to non-Sky subscribers says: “Currently consoles like the PlayStation 3 won’t play the Sky Player because of the way we protect the content [through Microsoft’s Silverlight]; so the PS3 wouldn’t be able to cope with the DRM…However, I think games consoles are an interesting opportunity and it is something that we are exploring.”