Satellite news 15.11.05

Cartoon Network to launch two new channels

The company behind Cartoon Network, Turner Broadcasting, is to launch two new channels next year in a bid to further boost its audience. Cartoon Network Too and Boomerang +1 will launch in early 2006. Cartoon Network Too will focus on classic cartoons such as Wacky Races and Hong Kong Phooey while Boomerang +1 will show family toons including Scooby-Doo and Tom & Jerry.

Youth channel Rapture returns to Sky

Youth clubbing channel Rapture TV has returned to the Sky Digital line-up after a long absence. It's available on channel 288 and is broacasting in the clear on 11.343GHz/H.

Sky News revamp is a flop with TV viewers

Sky News has lost almost 300,000 viewers since its multi-million pound revamp three weeks ago. Official ratings from BARB show Sky News lost 300,000 viewers on average in the first week, with BBC News 24 gaining 200,000 viewers. Furthermore, Sky News is not doing well at weekends, with BBC News 24 managing 42 per cent more viewers.

Sky welcomes BBC's high definition plans

The BBC has confirmed it is introducing high definition for many of its best-known programmes. It intends to 'simulcast' highlights of BBC1's peak time schedule in HD format from the middle of next year on satellite and cable. It will also launch a trial of HDTV broadcasts via Freeview. The news was welcomed by Sky, and Richard Freudenstein, its Chief Operating Officer, said: "Sky welcomes the announcement by the BBC. The BBC's commitment to HD is very positive news for this exciting technology and ensures that viewers will be able to enjoy an even wider choice of programmes in HD quality. Falling prices for HD Ready TVs available before Christmas are also contributing to growing interest in Sky's plans to launch HD."

Redemption TV will offer 'alternative television'

A brand new alternative lifestyle TV channel called Redemption TV has announced it will launch on Sky Digital in December. The channel is already on Sky channe 695 but will not officially launch until December 1. A spokesman said: "We have been going around the world filming music, fashion, festivals and much more including the Chicago and Whitby Goth Fests, London Edge Fashion Show, the International Tattoo Festival and over 80 live sets and interviews from bands."

Playboy launches new daytime TV channel

New daytime entertainment channel from Playboy TV has launched on Sky Digital channel 287, broacating on a free-to-air basis. Called Playboy One, the channel broadcasts clips of models as well as classic Playboy content including movies every week.

Channel 4 threatens TV programme producers

Channel 4 is threatening to start producing its own programmes if it cannot reach "a fair agreement over new media rights with independent producers." C4's chief executive Andy Duncan warned this week: "If there is no fair share and if we are given no comfort on this issue, Channel 4 will have no alternative but to go for in-house production." He added that "if independents push too hard there is no alternative ... This is not our preferred route, and we would need to agree this with Ofcom but my sense is that if we can't be given comfort that is what we will have to do." The threat from Channel 4 comes as broadcasters are locked into a fierce dispute with the independent producers' trade body, Pact, over the issue of new media rights, including broadband and video clips.

Telewest to launch UK's first HDTV service

Telewest aims to get one over on Sky by becoming the first TV operator in the UK to launch HDTV. The company has outlined plans for 'TV Drive', a new DVR box that will be available to all Telewest subscribers during the first quarter of 2006 and some customers in December. Telewest's set-top box will feature three tuners - one more than the Sky+ box - allowing viewers to simultaneously record two programmes while watching a third. It will also include a 160Gb hard drive. Telewest's HDTV service will launch at the same time, giving it a three to four month jump on Sky's planned offering. Telewest's Neil Smith revealed that movie and drama content had already been signed from Pathé and the BBC.

Sky plans to offer TV, Net and phons service

Sky is planning to launch a 'triple play' of TV, broadband and telephone services towards the end of 2006. The firm is spending up to Ł1 billion on acquiring broadband and telephony assets as the foundations of its new service. The news comes after the company bought Internet provider Easynet and is now reported to be considering a takeover of HomeChoice.

BBC2 will be first channel to go after digital switch

The BBC has said that BBC2 will be the first terrestrial channel to leave our screens when analogue TV is switched off in 2012. Once the channel has gone blank, a message will appear telling viewers that digital TV equipment is required to watch the channel.

Digital TV news in brief...

A new shopping channel called 2Shop TV has launched on Sky Digital channel 780... Well known shopping channel presenter Steve Whatley has sadly died.... Celebrity magazine OK! has taken a tentative step towards developing its own mobile TV service, teaming up with Orange to launch a video clip service called OK! TV... Veteran TV presenter Sir David Attenborough has announced his retirement from television... Sky has moved closer to its Ł211m acquisition of broadband network operator Easynet, a deal Sky chairman Rupert Murdoch said recently would help the company "reinvent" itself... The Sci Fi channel has become the latest addition to the line-up on UK broadband TV service, Homechoice... Sir David Frost is to present a new politics series for ITV concentrating on London... ITV has commissioned a series of lavish costume dramas based on popular Jane Austen novels, following the success of the adaptations of Pride & Prejudice.

ITV News Channel's hours cut back on Freeview

The ITV News Channel has cut its hours on Freeview to make way for the new channel ITV4. ITV has just five channel slots, occupied by ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV News and Men & Motors respectively, and either Men & Motors or the news operation faced the cut in hours to make room for ITV4.

ITV4 launches on Sky Digital channel 120

ITV4 joined the Sky Digital line-up on channel 120 after a delay of several days. The channel was expected to join the Sky line-up on its launch night but a dispute between Sky and ITV caused the delay and led to the channel showing first night's schedule on Men & Motors.

Regards Satdude.