Media Medium
10 October 2001

CHARLES ALLEN

King Charles

Granada boss Charles Allen is facing the defining
period of his career as a media mogul

As head of Granada, Charles Allen, with his background in accountancy and management, is one of the big suits in media. He is an ambitious and pragmatic Capricorn (January 4 1957), so management, strategy and planning are his forte, and despite the tremendous energy and drive shown in his horoscope, his career doesn't look like a vision thing.

Capricorns are usually superb at self-discipline and control, and with no emotional water in his horoscope, Allen may often come across with a somewhat distant and elitist approach, but with a certainty and sure-footedness that makes him appear masterly and in command. Capricorn is the perfect sign for an authorative, Victorian father figure, whose judgment and values as head of the family go unquestioned. His connection with the down-market, Cancer dominated Granada horoscope (July 11 1934) shows that they are more an attraction of opposites than a natural fit.

Allen does have some steely fire in his chart, though, and his powerful Mars in the sign of the Aries Ram is strongly linked in to the Granada horoscope. He knows how to get the company moving and give it direction, but the trouble with such a bolshy Mars is that it can also get into unnecessary scrapes. So despite his cool Capricorn, hot-headed Mars is a blind spot for Allen, who sometimes pushes too hard when he doesn't need to. Astrologer Robert Pelletier tells people with the Sun square to Mars that they have "much enthusiasm and energy to carry out tasks, but under prolonged pressure you periodically need to wind down and get away form your work. You must try not to drive yourself so hard in fulfilling your ambitions. When your efforts don't yield the expected results you become annoyed and fly off the handle in disgust".

In the coming year, Allen looks as if he is facing the defining period of his career as a media mogul. The ITV companies, like the whole media sector, have taken a huge knock on the Saturn- Pluto opposition in the media signs of Gemini and Sagittarius during the second half of this year, seen especially in the dive in advertising revenues. With Pluto crossing its Venus in its financial sector, now and right through until next summer, Granada's financial troubles are compounded as ONdigital, which it runs with Carlton, continues to lose a million pounds a day. How long can this be sustained?

It is rumoured that Allen is going to pull out of ONdigital, which would force the government to rethink its whole strategy of switching off analogue by 2010 and freeing up lucrative spectrum for resale. On the evidence of the astrology, Charles Allen is not bluffing. His Sun has moved opposite to Pluto, and that shows he is ready right now to pull the plug on this commercial flop. In the long term, Granada is in for a few rocky and uncertain years until mid 2004, when the signs favour the possible Granada- Carlton merger. But before then, Allen will have to watch his fly-off-the-handle Sun-Mars square, or he will be making powerful enemies for Granada, and himself.

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