Now to BBC for the late news

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 February, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 February, 1998, 12:00am

A bright new in-house promotion being carried on the BBC World Service radio extols the virtues of its sports coverage.

An increasingly exasperated listener goes through a large number of frequencies asking: 'Where is it?' Suddenly, all is sweetness and light as the comforting tones of a BBC broadcaster fill the airwaves, discussing the prospects for a forthcoming big match involving British football giants Liverpool.

The announcer then smugly intones, 'The BBC World Service - a frequency where sports is covered properly.' Unfortunately, the snippet of sports news used in the trailer is unlikely to persuade many sports fans the BBC is on top of the genre.

The report tells listeners that in the absence of striker Robbie Fowler, Liverpool will be forced to use another forward, Stan Collymore.

Just in case it has escaped the attention of the BBC World Service, Collymore was transferred from Liverpool to Aston Villa last summer.

Ever since MTV came off the Star TV platform of channels in 1994, the two sides have fought a running battle for viewers and advertising dollars. Now it appears that the protagonists are doing battle in the cauldron that is Indian politics.

In late January, MTV announced that its dedicated Indian service was to stage Rock The Vote, starring video jock Cyrus Broacha encouraging young people to use their right to vote in the coming national elections.

A few days later, Star TV revealed it was inaugurating a 24-hour election channel, Star News, to cover the elections with bulletins and discussion programmes, as well as coverage of politicians on the campaign trail. With India emerging as one of Asia's hottest TV markets in light of the economic downswing in the rest of Asia, executives with both services will be closely watching their own returns to see who emerges as the election winner.

Other than when his daughters marry, Hong Kong-based Duty Free Shoppers tycoon Robert Miller likes to keep his profile not so much low as practically invisible.

This trait was underlined by his last-minute refusal late last year to allow news that he had been made chairman of the TV Shopping Network to be made public, a TVSN insider says.

Mr Miller's Search Group holds about 70 per cent of TVSN, and at the time senior staff within the channel were surprised he vetoed the announcement.

But news last week that TVSN's Indonesian service had been axed because of Southeast Asia's economic malaise, and that the chief executive and 10 per cent of the staff also had departed, now seems to explain Mr Miller's refusal.