In the news ... Setanta fights for survival

Irish sports pay-TV channel Setanta is fighting for survival as it struggles to raise £50m to meet looming sports rights payments.

Setanta: Needs new investment to survive
Setanta: Needs new investment to survive

The channel's long-term future was cast into doubt after losing a package of Premier League matches to rival Sky in February - since then it has missed a £3m payment to the Scottish Premier League and needs to finds another £30m to pay the English Premier League. Reports on Friday suggested it was locked in talks with investors to sell a majority stake - the BBC named Russian American billionaire Len Blavatnik as a probable contender. He is said to be investing £20m, with another £20m coming from other unknown investors. Setanta stopped taking new subscriptions on last Thursday amid last-ditch hopes to secure its future, but has since started taking on new customers again.

The reaction?

The saga has been heavily covered across the media. Setanta has been going since 1990, but its profile rocketed when it won rights to show 46 Premier League games a season and large chunk of international football. 'Setanta was unpopular and doomed to fail from the start,' said

Who are the PR players?

City agency Powerscourt is handling Setanta's financial PR and the station uses PMPR in Scotland and Braben for press office work. Setanta pulled out of efforts to retain another consumer agency as its financial position worsened, but it brought in Frank PR on a project basis last month. Doughty Hanson and Balderton Capital are Setanta's major investors, which retain Capital MS&L and Powerscourt respectively.

What happens next?

The immediate future of Setanta is completely reliant on getting the new investment. But long-term the channel is still well short of a break-even number of subscribers and may struggle to find more as it loses chunks of its sporting rights. If is it rescued, there will be much hard work to be done to convince the City and potential customers that it is more than a temporary reprieve.

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