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Discovery exits Britain's Channel 5 bidding: sources

By Liana B. Baker and Karen Rebelo NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Discovery Communications has dropped out of bidding to buy Britain's free-to-air Channel 5, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Discovery, which has been aggressively expanding outside of the United States in television, had been in talks with British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc over a possible joint bid, according to media reports.

British lawmakers fear for BBC World Service under new funding

By Belinda Goldsmith LONDON (Reuters) - British lawmakers raised fears on Monday for the future of the BBC World Service, the world's largest international broadcaster, as funding shifts from government grants to financing by domestic television user fees. Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee said it was concerned that a change in funding and a lack of presence on the BBC's executive or management boards would erode the on-air and online influence of the radio and television service.

British media tycoon considers Channel 5 float: Sky

(Reuters) - British media baron Richard Desmond is considering a stock market listing of free-to-air TV broadcaster Channel 5, Sky News reported, citing sources. Desmond is working with investment bankers from Goldman Sachs on the possible floatation, Sky News said on its website, adding that the bank had taken the idea of listing Channel 5 to Desmond in recent weeks. (http://link.reuters.com/ban67v)

ITN reporter says U.N. envoy surrounded in Crimea cafe

KIEV (Reuters) - A U.N. envoy was holed up in a Crimea cafe on Wednesday where he took shelter from militiamen who stopped his car, a reporter for Britain's ITN television said on Twitter. "UN special envoy Robert Serry with me in coffee shop. Outside local militia block the door," James Mates tweeted. "He refused to go with men blocking car, got out and walked until he found coffee shop. He's asked ITV News team to stay with him," Mates said. (Reporting by Peter Graff)

Discovery in talks with BSkyB over possible Channel 5 bid: FT

(Reuters) - John Malone-backed Discovery Communications Inc is in talks with British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc over a joint bid for Britain's free-to-air Channel 5, the Financial Times reported on Friday. The Discovery-BSkyB talks have focused on the British pay-TV provider taking over Channel 5's advertising sales operation, the report cited people familiar with the matter as saying. Channel 5, which broadcasts Big Brother, was bought by British media baron Richard Desmond in 2010 for 103.5 million pounds ($172.71 million).

UK court sends BSkyB's pay-TV terms back for review

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Court of Appeal on Monday ruled that a lower court should look again at how pay-TV group BSkyB sells its sports channels to rivals, in the latest twist in a near four-year battle. Market regulator Ofcom ruled in March 2010 that Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB should make its two main sports channels available to rivals such as Virgin Media and BT at a lower price.

Ex-BBC boss Mark Thompson apologizes for botched $163 million digital media project

LONDON - The former boss of the BBC has apologized for the failure of its digital media plan, which wasted almost 100 million pounds ($163 million) of taxpayer funds. Mark Thompson, who left the BBC in 2012 to become the chief executive of The New York Times, was one of several current and former BBC employees testifying about the failed plan before a British parliamentary committee. He said Monday the plan "failed as a project," despite earlier giving evidence that it was working well.

Ex-BBC boss Mark Thompson apologizes for botched $163 million digital media project

LONDON - The former boss of the BBC has apologized for the failure of its digital media plan, which wasted almost 100 million pounds ($163 million) of taxpayer funds. Mark Thompson, who left the BBC in 2012 to become the chief executive of The New York Times, was one of several current and former BBC employees testifying about the failed plan before a British parliamentary committee. He said Monday the plan "failed as a project," despite earlier giving evidence that it was working well.

Ex-BBC chief Mark Thompson apologizes for failed $170 million IT project

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. media executive Mark Thompson apologized on Monday to the British public and parliamentarians for the failure of a 100 million pound ($170 million) digital project during his years of running the BBC. Thompson, who left the publicly funded broadcaster in 2012 to become chief executive at the New York Times Company, said the Digital Media Initiative (DMI) failed as a project in many ways and as a result lost the public money.

Pay-TV giant BSkyB scores lower profits

British pay-TV group BSkyB announced a drop in half-year net profits Thursday as higher costs linked to coverage of live English Premier League football offset rising revenues. BSkyB said profit after tax fell almost 16 percent to £411 million ($678 million, 500 million euros) in the final six months of 2013 compared with the equivalent period in 2012. The group's financial year runs from July to June. The company which also offers broadband Internet and telephone services said total revenues jumped 7.6 percent to £3.75 billion in the reporting period.
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