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ANOTHER OWN GOAL FOR NTL

Nov 14 2001

 

A huge row has broken out between several Football League clubs and our favourite cable firm NTL.

NTL is a dirty word at clubs like Watford and West Bromwich Albion after the troubled firm started weaselling out of internet rights payments.

Its reason? The websites aren't up to scratch. New benchmarks stipulate news, info and player interviews have to be regularly updated or the sites fail NTL's strict "content criteria".

Failure means no payment, unhappy clubs and deal breakdowns.

Will Robson, marketing director for NTL sport subsidiary Premium TV, defended the move, insisting these were "realistic benchmarks" meant to stimulate clubs into producing decent sites.

"We've invested large fees in these clubs and we're not about to penny-pinch off them. If the content on the sites is sub-standard then the money goes back into the overall pot."

While NTL has a point, so do the clubs who, by the same token, can't keep pumping cash into loss-making sites.

Some suggest the row has little to do with benchmarks and more to do with the dire financial straits NTL finds itself in. Certainly there's strong sentiment within the group that paying £65 million for the rights to those sites was a dramatic own goal.

__________

Great to see Microsoft's two-month delay of Flight Simulator 2002 resulted in the game being deadly accurate. New York's Twin Towers may have gone, but its geographical perspective on London leaves a great deal to be desired.

Since when was the Millennium Dome directly opposite the House of Commons?

__________

The top place to live in the UK at the moment is Hull. No, not because of the best chips and gravy in the world or the bloody Humber Bridge, but for the most advanced digital interactive TV system.

Kingston Interactive is adding video-on-demand to its services - like digital TV - all run on Kingston's ordinary phone lines.

Kingston has taken three years to reach this stage so it's likely to take BT 10 years before it gets close. With no expansion planned due to BT's "diabolical unbundling shambles" (Kingston's words), the rest of us are left with second-rate services.

__________

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an Eidos text message campaign after a former Army man was scared witless by it.

The complainant said he experienced undue fear and distress after he received this message: "Report to your local Army recruitment centre immediately for your 2nd tour of duty. Commandos 2 on PC - it's more real than real life - out today from Eidos."

Easy mistake to make if you can't read.

__________

Defunct retailer www.ToyZone.co.uk  - in which Jonathan Ross, Rupert Murdoch and PR spinmeister Matthew Freud had a stake - is back from the dead.

It has been scraped off the floor by never-heard-of-before Toymonkey.com  and turned into one of the most garish, fluorescent yellow websites ever. Is nothing sacred?

__________

SITE OF THE DAY

http://www.doshtracker.co.uk

Novelty site for people with far too much time on their hands. Enter the serial number of your £5, £10, £20 notes and "have fun" (their words) seeing where your money's already been and where it ends up. Fascinating stuff.

 
 

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