BSkyB group director of corporate affairs Graham McWilliam counter-attacked, calling BT a ‘£22bn gorilla in puppy’s clothing’ in a letter to The Daily Telegraph, The Times and The FT. He also lambasted BT hypocrisy for ‘blacklisting’ Sky ads for years.
How I see it
Neil Henderson, head of comms, UK and Ireland, MasterCard
This is a Ryanair/BA-style spat, with both companies trying to get consumers on their side. BSkyB sees BT as a formidable threat. That’s why it is not allowing BT to advertise on its channels. The current spat is probably a smokescreen; the real war is over broadband and telephone packages because that’s where BSkyB makes its money.
This is a good bit of comms from BSkyB. Instead of the usual channels, it wrote a letter to The Daily Telegraph, The FT and The Times. These papers’ readers are predominately ABC1, so getting coverage here is an ideal way to send the message out to BSkyB and BT shareholders.
Writing a direct letter also has more impact. You have to be more creative in comms now to get the attention of journalists and customers in this crowded information market.
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