BSkyB has advanced in the battle to supply radio news after its distributor UBC Media persuaded Smooth FM owner Guardian Media Group to broadcast UBC’s Sky News Radio package to millions more listeners.
UBC, which distributes Sky Radio News as part of the traffic and travel package it distributes to more than 250 commercial stations nationwide, is expected to announce the deal as early as today. The deal is further evidence of Sky’s drive to expand its presence on the airwaves and comes as the broadcaster considers joining a bid for the new national digital radio multiplex.
It also deals a blow to Britain’s incumbent supplier of commercial radio news, IRN, which is controlled by the biggest commercial radio company, GCap Media.
UBC pays Sky for its news clips and transmits them to each station for free in return for the chance to sell advertising slots on either side of bulletins. GMG had previously paid Sky direct for access to a more limited package of news material.
Under the terms of UBC’s contract with Sky, UBC Media will supply the Sky News Radio service to GMG Radio’s 11 regional FM digital and analogue stations.
Because GMG will continue to take IRN’s news feeds, UBC and Sky will compete directly with IRN to persuade each station that its content is better for each individual story.