Nick urges viewers: 'drop Telewest, go to Sky'
Childrens TV channel Nickelodeon UK is controversially calling on its cable viewers to drop Telewest and sign up to Sky Digital following the cable operator's decision to its channels when the two companies failed to agree a new carriage contract. Nickelodeon, Nick Replay, Nicktoons and Nick Jr TV channels were dropped by Telewest after failing to agree new carriage terms. Nickelodeon UK managing director David Lynn said: "We remain open to discussion with Telewest and have been working hard to resolve this issue and to get Nickelodeon back on air for our Telewest viewers. Until we hear back from Telewest we can only suggest that Nickelodeon fans contact Telewest's customer service line to express their concern, or approach another service operator such as Sky." The Nickelodeon Web site has published details of Sky and HomeChoice to help Telewest customers look elsewhere.

Sky to launch interactive puzzles section
Sky is expanding its range of puzzles, competitions and games available through on its interactive service, Sky Active, having signed a new deal with Puzzler Media Limited, one of the UK's leading puzzle publishers. Puzzler will offer a selection of pay-to-play puzzles for adults and kids in the 'Puzzles & Prizes' section of Sky Active. The content includes daily wordsearches, crossword and 'kriss kross' puzzles.

NASN sports channel free over Christmas
Subscription sports channel NASN will be free for Sky subscribers over the Christmas weekend. It will be free-to-view from Christmas Eve through to December 27. Other channels offering festive free-to-views include the three movie channels from FilmFour and premium arts channel Artsworld.

Auctionworld stripped of broadcast licence
Shopping channel Auctionworld has been stripped of its broadcasting licence by regulator Ofcom, after going into administration. Last month the channel was fined 450,000 over misleading price guides, and collapsed with debts reported to be around 14m.

Teachers' TV channel chooses NTL
Teachers' TV, a soon-to-launch digital TV channel for the UK's education community, has awarded a three-and-a-half year contract to NTL to provide back-end technical support for the station. NTL will oversee the fibre connectivity to the company's Winchester teleport, uplinking and space segment on Astra 2A. Once fully launched, the channel will be available on Sky Digital.

New look for Discovery travel channel in 2005
Discovery is to rename and relaunch its Discovery Travel & Adventure channel on February 1, 2005. The revamp will see the channel renamed to Discovery Travel & Living. Its schedule will also be altered to focus more on travel, cookery, property, design and architecture. In a statement, the director of Discovery Travel & Living Channel, Paul Welling, said: "The last few years have seen a marked change in the way we live our lives. We are travelling abroad more, eating more foreign foods and bringing back living and design ideas from holidays abroad. Discovery Travel and Living is designed to help people seek escapism and inspiration from the comfort of their armchairs."

E4 could become a free-to-air channel
E4 could soon become a free-to-air channel, according to press reports. Channel 4 is considering coverting the entertainment service from a pay-TV channel into a free one next year in a bid to further increase its potential audience. Channel 4 is reportedly confident that the service would be able to survive on advertising revenue alone. If the switch went ahead, Sky would come under pressure to follow suit and make its rival flagship channel, Sky One, a free service.

Sky Text to launch on Freeview shortly
Sky is extending the reach of its digital text service, Sky Text, by launching it on digital terrestrial service, Freeview. Viewers will be able to access it by pressing text on their remote control while watching Sky News, Sky Sports News or Sky Travel. The launch of Sky Text on Freeview, scheduled for late December, will add 3.7 million households to the potential audience for the service. Sky Text will enable viewers to continue watching the video stream while reading news, sport, finance and weather.

Sky Sports wins cricket TV rights from C4
Channel 4 has lost the TV rights to England's home Test matches to Sky Sports. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that Sky has won exclusive rights to the live broadcast of all home international and domestic cricket in England and Wales, while Channel Five has gained the rights to show highlights of home international cricket on prime time TV where action from every day's play, apart from day/night games, will be shown at the peak time evening slot of 7.15pm-8.00pm. BBC Radio retains its exclusive radio commentary rights to all home international cricket as well as the non-exclusive rights to cover domestic county cricket. TalkSPORT has been awarded the non-exclusive rights to provide live commentary of Twenty20 Cup matches. The deals will generate up to 220 million for cricket over four years.

ITN News and Fox News sign archive deal
ITN has signed a deal to manage and market Fox News' video archive internationally. ITN's archive division is to take over management of the Fox Movietone archive and Fox News video library, accounting for more than 31,500 hours of programming, from January 15. ITN operates one of the world's largest video archives with 650,000 hours of content, with film dating back to 1896.