5/27/2011 10:40:00 AM
Power 50 Profile: Jeremy Darroch, CEO, BSKYB
2011 Agent Provocateurs
It is difficult to identify the major decision maker at Sky beyond 80-year-old Rupert, but the Murdoch empire has long been viewed by mobile operators as looming menacingly over their patch. Darroch and his team have for years privately assessed mobile as overly competitive, messy and unpredictable. The business case for a Sky MVNO was considered but rejected in preference for maintaining its content across all operators. The last 12 months have seen Darroch reassess his business amid major transformation in terms of content, distribution, platforms and hardware. Darroch's view is to invest where Sky can differentiate. He made a trademark Murdochian move in January by acquiring Wi-Fi network The Cloud for an estimated £50m. As any smartphone user will attest, mobile networks are frequently buckling under the strain of new types of mobile usage. Mobile operators have dabbled with Wi-Fi, unsure whether to see it as friend or foe. O2 launched its Wi-Fi service a day before the Sky/Cloud deal, but Darroch looks like he is trying to tempt Sky subscribers with access to content wherever they are but is not reliant on their mobile connection.