|Rupert Murdock Lands GM’S Share of DirecTV|
|Home Theater News Industry-Trade News|
|Written by Scott Selter|
|Wednesday, 09 April 2003|
CBS Marketwatch is reporting that media giant News Corp. has bought 19.9 percent of Hughes Electronics for 6.6 billion dollars in order to gain control of DirecTV and its 11,000,000 subscribers. GM will retain a minority share in Hughes.
EchoStar, the parent of DirecTV rival Dish Network, failed to get FCC approval for their bid to buy DirecTV from Hughes. Rupert Murdock’s News Corp. has long been rumored to be the most likely suitor for DirecTV because they also own the Fox Network as well as other satellite networks in other parts of the world.
The FCC stated their desire to see competition in the satellite market as the reason why they nixed the DirecTV – EchoStar deal. The News Corp. deal gives them such competition. HDTV fans were drooling over the possibility of taking both the EchoStar and DirecTV satellite networks and combining them because it would allow the proposed network to allocate bandwidth from redundant channels to new HDTV networks. Since News Corp. has other networks and the ability to continue to launch satellites, perhaps the same effect is possible. ESPN and Discovery Channel both have HDTV channels ready to roll but they are not available on DirecTV. With HDTV events like the Masters, the NHL Playoffs and more being broadcast over the air and or more importantly, piped through digital cable in HDTV, satellite subscribers will want DirecTV to take the lead with the most HDTV coverage 24-7-365.