Weber Shandwick was appointed to act on behalf of an alliance of media groups including BT, Guardian Media Group, Associated Newspapers, Trinity Mirror, Northcliffe Media and Telegraph Media Group with regard to the proposed takeover of BSkyB by News Corporation. Usually competitors, they were brought together to campaign on a single issue that would have a dramatic effect on the media landscape in the UK.
This campaign involved engaging with a wide variety of groups across society including, parliamentarians, regulators, think tanks, academics, online campaigning groups and journalists in order to galvanise support. Weber Shandwick provided full public affairs and communications support to direct the campaign, including counsel at a senior level, speech writing, providing written briefings to parliamentarians, commissioning and publicising polling, and arranging third party events.
The campaign generated a wide amount of exposure in the media and in Parliament – both written and oral questions were tabled in addition to an Early Day motion, and it achieved widespread coverage across all media formats. This activity helped correct some misconceptions about the proposed merger (like News Corp already owned all of BSkyB) and brought it into the public eye. In the wake of the phone hacking scandal News Corp abandoned the deal but the Alliance campaign caused the necessary scrutiny and delay to ensure the deal was not waved through from the outset.