Despite the changes, BBC Two is still regularly watched by more than half the TV-viewing public every month and its five per cent share compares favourably with rivals. “You’re still talking about millions of people watching,” says Tom Harrington of the media company Enders Analysis. “You compare it to 10 or 15 years ago and there’s a decline, but that’s still a lot of people.”

“The New York Times is not becoming a gaming company any more than the acquisition of the Athletic would imply they are becoming a sports company,” said Gareth Sutcliffe, an analyst for the market research service Enders Analysis. “NYT is simply acknowledging that being a broad generalist spells death online, and they have prioritized and valued the means of addressing that.”

In a note to clients last July, the media analysts Enders suggested strong profitability in 2023 could justify a valuation of £740m for The Telegraph alone, implying that a package with The Spectator could be worth £800m. In the immediate aftermath of its raid on last year’s auction, RedBird IMI won praise in US media circles for bagging the pair for only £600m.

The precise form of the scheme that will be chosen remains to be specified, as some analysts, such as François Godard at the British firm Enders Analysis, imagine the creation of a local entity that would be listed in the country. In any case, the pay-TV channel confirmed its intention to maintain a listing in Johannesburg, "so that South African investors can benefit from the future growth of the company," the statement said.