On an earnings call this morning, BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the company should be judged based on its “track record as a broadcaster.” He was addressing the issue of UK regulator Ofcom’s ongoing investigation into whether James Murdoch and News Corp are “fit and proper” persons to hold a broadcast license on behalf of BSkyB. (Murdoch stepped down as CEO of BSkyB in early April, but he remains a non-executive director.) Darroch emphasized that Sky and its largest shareholder, News Corp, are “separate companies” and said, “We think it’s our track record as a broadcaster that’s the most important in determining our fitness for a license.” He added, “It’s important to remember the broader contribution that SKY makes to the UK…We think that shouldn’t be lost in all of this.” The satcaster’s results for the 9 months ended March 31 come one day after a UK parliamentary committee said Rupert Murdoch was “not a fit person” to run an international company.
BSkyB revenue was up 5% to £5.078 billion with adjusted operating profit hitting a record £908 billion for a 15% increase. In much the same way as News Corp announced yesterday that internal investigations had turned up no illegal conduct at newspapers The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times, BSkyB said it had concluded its own editorial review of Sky News. The process involved the review of Sky News payment records and emails which the company says found no evidence of impropriety or cause for concern. With regard to two instances of a Sky News journalist accessing private emails of individuals suspected of criminal activity, the company says it is “satisfied that the action was justified in the public interest and subject to proper editorial oversight.”