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  1. #1
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    Default Satellite news 02.03.05

    Satellite news 02.02.05


    Reality TV launches new time-shift channel

    Reality TV's new timeshift channel will go on air on Sky Digital channel 188 on Monday (January 31). The free-to-view channel shows the normal schedule of programmes an hour later than the main channel.

    Pan-European jobs channel set to launch

    The European Union is set to launch a pan-European digital TV jobs channel. The free-to-view station is intended to let EU citizens in 25 member countries access the details of thousands of jobs abroad in seconds using their remote control.

    Sky Sports pundit sacked after tsnuami 'joke'

    Football pundit Rodney Marsh has been sacked for making a joke about the tsunami disaster during a live programme on Sky Sports. The ex-Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers striker made a 'joke' in which he swapped the word "tsunami" for "Toon Army", the term for Newcastle United supporters. A Sky Sports spokesman said: "These remarks should never have been made and Sky would like to offer its apologies to those who were offended." Marsh made the comments during the live phone-in programme, You're on Sky Sports, and said: "I apologise unreservedly for any offence I caused by my thoughtless and inappropriate comment."

    Bravo buys rights to live ultimate fighting event

    Bravo has acquired the live UK rights to screen the Ultimate Fighting
    Championship’s UFC 51 event from Las Vegas on February 6. UFC 51 will form part of 'Big Fight February', a month of programming on Bravo dedicated to mixed Martial Arts and boxing that includes a 15-part series on the rise of white collar boxing.

    Channel 4 to start new games channel?

    Channel 4 is reported to be considering the launch of a new gaming channel on Freeview. The station could be an offshoot of the popular 9 Live Quiz TV show which was trialled on E4 last year.

    Smooth FM ready for launch on Sky

    Jazz and blues radio station Smooth FM has started test transmissions ahead of its official launch within Sky's EPG. Test transmissions for the channel are at 12.324GHz/V, (SR 27500, FEC 2/3) under the name '5742'.

    London travel service starts on Sky Active

    Transport for London (TFL) is launching the first transport information service for London on an interactive digital TV platform, having clinched a two year deal to start a pilot project with Sky. TFL Journey Planner, Live Travel News and a Licensed Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle search will be available by pressing the red button on Sky Digital remote handsets.

    Pace pays £450k after breach of FSA rules

    Set-top box maker Pace Micro Technology has reached a settlement with City watchdog the Financial Services Authority (FSA) over the disclosure of financial performance information in 2002. The FSA found Pace broke stock market rules on two occasions that year, but ruled it did not act deliberately or recklessly. Pace said it had agreed to pay a penalty of £450,000 without admitting the FSA's conclusions.

    Ofcom joins probe into football TV rights

    The European Commission has called in the UK's media regulators to help in its probe into the way the Premier League sells its TV rights, including its £1bn deal with Sky. Ofcom and the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) have been asked to provide advice about the UK broadcasting market and the value of the Premier League's rights. An Ofcom spokesman said in a statement: "The European Union is conducting an ongoing investigation about how the FA Premier League sells its media rights. They have asked Ofcom and the OFT - as the concurrent competition regulators - to provide specialist assistance."

    New Asian news channel joins Sky line-up

    South Asian news channel Vectone World has launched on Sky Digital channel 537. The free-to-air, 24-hour channel has a similar format to EuroNews with a schedule of video news bulletins and voiceovers without in-view presenters.

    Astra mulls launch of satellite radio service

    SES Global, the company which operates the Astra satellites, is reported to have held preliminary talks about launching a subscription radio network across Europe. Subscription radio has taken off in the US, where 4.4 million customers pay around £5 ($10) a month to receive more than 100 radio stations via satellite. SES chief executive Romain Bausch has made satellite radio one of the group's main objectives for 2005 as it seeks new uses for satellite technology in Europe. SES will not be involved in programming but is willing to consider a joint venture.

    Blinkx launches Web-based TV search engine

    Internet search engine Blinkx has launched, a web site that lets users search for content in TV news bulletins (including BBC News 24 and Sky News), movie trailers and other TV shows. It comes after Yahoo recently released a beta version of its Video Search and as Google pushes debuts its TV search service.

    This week's digital TV news in brief...

    A new Christian religious channel called DAYSTAR has replaced CTC TV on Sky Digital 675... Sharon Osbourne will be the lead presenter on Sky's coverage of the Academy Awards ceremony on February 28th... NHK, a Japanese TV network, plans to start a 24-hour news channel in that country and possibly roll it out globally over the next few years... India's religious channel Aastha TV is considering launching on Sky Digital later this year... The broadcaster behind Channel U, which broadcasts a range of music videos, has launched its latest channel, Fizz on Sky Digital channel 468.

    ITV2 commissions its first original drama

    ITV2 has commissioned its first original drama TV series, with a late night spin-off of Footballers' Wives. The 12 episode series, called Footballers' Wives – Extra Time, will be shown later this year and will closely scripted around the late night shenanigans of the players and their spouses.

    Look4Love dating channel launches

    A new dating channel called Look4Love TV has launched on Sky Digital channel 685. The Hampshire-based channel enables like-minded viewers to contact each other using their mobile phone.

    EuroNews launches new chat programme

    Pan-European news channel EuroNews is launching a new programme called Comment that will use a combination of TV, print and on-line channels to encourage interactive dialogue about issues at the heart of the news. Broadcast 6 times per day, in seven languages, Comment will apparently give viewers the chance to discuss topical news stories as never before.

    Regards Satdude.

  2. #2
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    Default Satellite news 07.02.05

    Satellite news 07.02.05


    Teachers TV launches on Sky this week

    New educational channel Teachers TV will launch on Sky Digital and several other digital TV platforms on Tuesday (February 8). Funded by the Department for Education and Skills but editorially independent, the free-to-air channel will be aimed at helping busy teachers with programmes that share ideas and experiences. Teachers TV will be availale on Sky Digital channel 686, NTL channel 803 and Telewest channel 47.

    New gay TV channel starts on Sky Digital

    A new TV channel aimed at gay viewers is to launch on Sky Digital this week. Called Gay Network, the entertainment channel will launch on Sky channel 688 and give gay and both bi-male and females the chance to communicate with each other.

    Sky's subscriber numbers rise again

    Sky has reaped the benefit of its major marketing campaign by adding 192,000 subscribers in the second quarter, ahead of the 150,000 expected by analysts. This compares with 193,000 subscribers in the same period a year ago. Total subscribers have now reached 7.6m which keeps the broadcaster on track for its target of reaching 8m subscribers by the end of 2005. Churn was 9.5%, which is down marginally on the previous quarter. Overall sales rose almost 10 per cent to £1.05bn compared with £916m in the same period last year and average revenue per subscriber reached £386. Pre-tax profit for the second quarter came in at £103m, compared with £77m in the same quarter last year. For the first half of the year, revenues were up 10% to £1.945bn and pre-tax profits rose 22% to £250m. Sky+ households increased by 168,000 to 642,000 while Sky multi-room households jumped by 116,000 to 473,000.

    South African channel ceases transmissions

    South African entertainment channel NSAT has stopped transmissions on Sky Digital channel 837 amid reports that it had been suffering financial problems. NSAT had hoped to become a subscription channel and begin 24-hour broadcasts later this year but the latest problems mean now looks unlikely.

    Sound TV announces February launch date

    Entertainment channel 'Great British Television' is finally set to launch on Sky Digital this month under a new name. The channel, backed by big names such as Chris Tarrant, comedian Jethro and entertainer Richard Digance, will be called Sound TV and will go on air on Saturday February 26 at 7pm. It has previously had to delay its two previous launch dates. A short promotional trailer about the channel's programmes is airing from 4pm to midnight daily on Information TV on Sky Digital channel 588, which will become the home of Sound TV. The channel's Web site is here.

    Microsoft set to enter our living rooms

    Microsoft boss Bill Gates has said he believes his company will clinch enough TV deals that it will play as significant a role in living rooms across the world as offices. He sees a time when set-top boxes will snap into a network of digital products – centred on the PC – that distribute video, music and photos around the house. He declined to predict specific revenues but said Microsoft will recoup the $500 million+ it has spent on TV software over the past decade. "It will absolutely pay back those early years," he said. Gates has already committed to another $1bn of spending on entertainment products. He is confident that consumers will want IPTV. "People care about the TV viewing experience. If you can really make it better, it has a really profound impact," he says.

    Huge audience for Sky football clash

    The top-of-the-table Premiership clash between Arsenal and Manchester United last Tuesday attracted more than 3 million viewers to Sky Sports 1. The figures even beat the ratings of several terrestrial channels.

    Sit-Up TV in running for new Freeview channel

    TV shopping broadcaster Sit-Up TV has put in a bid to launch a movie channel in Crown Castle’s vacant Freeview slot. Other bidders are reported to include Five, Disney, Universal and Turner. ITV and Channel 4 are considered to be the strongest contenders for the 18-hour slot, with rumoured bids of between £5m and £7m. The winner will be decided by the end of this month before the station goes live on April 1.

    Record numbers of interactive ads in January

    January 2005 saw the highest number of interactive TV ads on Sky ever. A total of 45 iTV campaigns ran on Sky channels, an increase of 40% on the previous high of January 2004. New brands using iTV for the first time included Virgin EMI, which launched a ground-breaking promotional campaign for the new album by The Chemical Brothers. Other first-time iTV advertisers included Hyundai, Grolsch, First Choice, Suzuki Jimny, American Tourism, Optical Express, Freedom Finance, Ebookers and Skoda.

    MTV criticised for promoting sex

    A US TV watchdog has criticised the broadcasting standards of MTV, accusing it of promoting sex to young viewers. The Parents Television Council (PTC) monitored the channel's output for a week last year and tallied up 3,056 visual references to sex or nudity, and 2,881 verbal references.

    More digital TV news in brief...

    Entertainment channel Life TV appears to have gone off air on Sky channel 160... Price Drop TV presenter Sarah Hendy is taking a break from the channel to become a co-presenter on a new live late night programme called Destination3 3 which will focus on the latest news, films and music... BBC1's interactive TV show How to Sleep Better was watched by a peak audience of 7 million viewers... Eutelsat's 2F3 satellite has been destroyed after serving at 16 degrees East, 36 degrees East, 21.5 degrees East (replaced by Eutelsat W3) and finally at 22 degrees East... Ofcom has said it issued 162 new licences to broadcast TV channels in 2004, while 21 were revoked. There are now over 310 channels broadcasting in the UK, including time-shifted channels excluding regional variations and PPV channels... As part of its plan to bring HD TV to German viewers, the Premiere TV network has selected Pace to supply MPEG-4 set-top boxes... Al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite news channel, is to be privatised by its owner, the state of Qatar.

    Living TV to launch new airline docu-soap

    A new docu-soap which will focus on the lives of flight attendants is to be broadcast on Living TV at the end of March. The as-yet-untitled series will be broadcast every day for two weeks, and there is a possibility of more being screened in the future. The flight attendants all work for Excel Airways and operate out of Gatwick and Manchester airports. The series features the staff not only working on the aircraft but enjoying their time off, giving viewers an insight into the lifestyle of a flight attendant.

    Regards Satdude. :D

  3. #3
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    Default Satellite news 15.02.05

    Satellite news 15.02.05


    Extasi TV deemed to be 'unacceptable'

    The Government is to restrict access to Extasi TV, an adult TV channel which it says broadcasts 'unacceptable violent pornography'. From the end of February it will be illegal to supply a decoding card or other equipment that gives access to the channel - and the station will also be banned from placing adverts in UK magazines or supplying its TV listings. However, it will not be illegal to watch the channel and anyone who already has a subscription or viewing card will not be breaking any law. Broadcasting Minister Andrew McIntosh said: "I was notified by Ofcom that the content of Extasi TV is unacceptable and should be the subject of a proscription order. I have viewed material from the channel and consider that a proscription order would be in the public interest, in particular to ensure that children are not exposed to such potentially harmful material."

    Ofcom outlines digital switch-off schedule

    Media regulator Ofcom has finally outlined its schedule for switching off the UK's analogue TV signal. It said a region-by-region process would start in 2008, with analogue transmitters being gradually turned off. In order to reach its proposed December 31, 2012 deadline for the final switch-over, it is proposing a phased switchover by ITV region rather than geography over the course of four years. Viewers in London and the Channel Islands will be among the last to have to make the digital transition. The Government is now considering Ofcom's timetable before deciding whether to give it the go-ahead.

    ITV News Channel returns to Freeview

    The ITV News Channel looks set to reappear on Freeview this Spring. According to a Sky Viewers Enquiries helpline, the channel will resume in the Central region in mid March; Granada, Yorkshire and Tyne Tees in mid April; Meridian, Anglia, HTV West and HTV Wales in mid-May; Scottish and Grampian in late May; Ulster in mid July; and the Westcountry and Border regions in late July.

    TalkSport TV moves to new Sky channel

    TalkSport TV has moved to a new channel on Sky Digital after its format was bought by bookmaker William Hill. TalkSport TV has been timesharing each day with Get Lucky TV, from 4pm until 10pm, on channel 235, but is now on William Hill's Channel 425 between 4pm and 7pm each day. The bookmaker bought the TV channel's format on a one year contract for an undisclosed sum.

    BBC is 'guaranteed licence fee for 10 years'

    The BBC is guaranteed to receive the proceeds of the UK's TV licence fee for another decade, according to Whitehall sources quoted in The Guardian. However, the government is likely to review the level of the licence fee in five years' time - amid concerns in some quarters that the BBC is still complacent and believes it has done enough to demonstrate it has put its house in order post-Hutton.

    Extra £20m for E4's programme budget

    Channel 4 is pumping an extra £20m into the programme budget of E4, its digital entertainment channel. The channel's annual spend will grow by 50% to £60m, helping to fund a combination of original programmes, US acquisitions and spin-offs of existing Channel 4 shows. The news comes as E4 appointed a new head at the station - Julian Bellamy replaces Murray Boland, who was poached last week by programme producer Celador.

    £25k fine for Playboy TV's hardcore broadcast

    Playboy TV has been fined £25,000 for broadcasting a graphic sex film in breach of the UK's strict programme rules. Ofcom, the UK's media watchdog, said the breach was "not to be tolerated" and fined the encrypted satellite channel for screening the film, called Sandy Babe Abroad, in May last year. Playboy TV made several breaches, including broadcasting material at 8.30pm in a free-to-air promotional slot that was "too explicit", and on another occasion screened an encrypted promotion pre-watershed that should have been broadcast after 10pm. Playboy TV admitted the breaches were serious but claimed the main breach had caused minimal offence because the film had been shown after midnight.

    Top Up TV subscriber numbers 'going to plan'

    David Chance, the chairman of Top Up TV, the digital terrestrial pay TV service, has said the service's acquisition of subscribers is “going according to plan" with around 150,000 customers having signed up. He added: "We said we’d achieve our break-even target of 250,000 within two years and we’re on target." The comments came amid speculation that the service is under pressure because of the low number of Freeview boxes equipped with pay TV card slots and its poor content line-up, which contains no sport or film channels.

    More digital TV news in brief...

    Sony has announced that all of its new TVs larger than 26 inches will in future be digital-only systems rather than analogue sets... Upcoming entertainment channel SoundTV, which launches on Sky on February 26 at 7pm, will also be screening kids shows and cartoons in addition to mainstream comedy and entertainment... UKTV Gardens has begun test broadcasts on Sky Digital under the ident ''6520' at 11.817GHz/V, SR 27500 and FEC 2/3... ITV4, the new digital channel launching later this year, will target male viewers... ITV soap Coronation Street is to add 'red button interactivity' to its programme on Sky this summer. Interactive features planned for the soap will include additional sub-plots and background stories, out-takes, behind-the-scenes coverage and competitions... Arts TV channel Performance (on Sky channel 202) has been sold by the Daily Mail Group to Eicom, formerly known as the Einstein Group, for £365,000... Adult channel Red Hot has launched on Freeview channel 61 and is charged at £5.99 per night.

    MTV launches new global music programme

    MTV has teamed up with burger chain McDonalds to launch a monthly global music programme dedicated to showcasing emerging music talent. Advance Warning, a 12-part series, has previously aired in the US and has helped to launch the careers of Joss Stone and Kanye West. Locally adapted versions of Advance Warning, tailored specifically for MTV's international audiences, will begin airing on MTV around the world starting on February 19 in Europe.

    BBC planning new sports TV channel

    The BBC has confirmed it is considering the launch of its own dedicated sports TV channel covering minority sports. Peter Salmon, director of BBC sport, said: "In the course of the next licence period, there should be a really good debate over the BBC and the diversity of its sports provision - including a specialist channel. I think it would be good for the nation's sporting life and good for the BBC as a public service broadcaster if we were in that business." The BBC has been linked to such a channel several times in recent years but the plans have never before come to fruition.

    Regards Satdude.

  4. #4
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    Default Satellite news 23.02.05

    Satellite news 23.02.05


    TV programme pirating poses threat to Sky

    Popular US programmes like 24 are being pirated in vast numbers online where whole shows can be downloaded free of charge within minutes of first screening. The UK is leading the way, accounting for almost 20% of global TV piracy. It comes as the amount of TV show piracy increased 150% over the past year - in part due to increased use of fast broadband Internet connections. David Price, research consultant at Envisional, said: "With popular shows such as 24 we're talking about 100,000 copies of the latest episode being pirated – with around 20,000 of those shows being downloaded in the UK. That is inevitably going to start hitting the likes of Sky, especially as the people typically doing this are the young, affluent demographic their advertisers want to reach."

    Reuters launches Web-based TV channel

    Reuters has launched an interactive TV channel that will deliver video news stories online. The service, which is available via Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005, gives access to business news, unedited footage of world news events, and stories of human interest, entertainment and fashion. Chris Ahearn, president of Reuters, said: "This is the first in a series of consumer services we will be launching this year that invite audiences to directly experience our news and information. "Our philosophy is to offer viewers the ability to choose the news that matters most to them, wherever and whenever it is breaking, and to see for themselves what’s really happening on the ground."

    UKTV Style Gardens launches this week

    The UK's first TV channel aimed at green-fingered viewers will launch on Sky Digital this week. The soft launch of UKTV Style Gardens had been planned for Monday (February 21) but it's understood this has been pushed back to Wednesday (February 23) when the channel will go on air at 1pm on Sky Digital channel 144.

    New poker TV channel to launch in March

    A new TV channel dedicated to the game of poker is to launch on Sky in March. The Poker Channel will show live coverage of big tournaments, and also broadcast programmes featuring tips and advice when it debuts on March 23. The channel is already performing tests under the label '50315' at 11.527GHz/V (SR 27500, FEC 2/3).

    UKTV channels reshuffled in Sky line-up

    Three UKTV channels have moved within Sky's onscreen programme guide. UKTV Food is on channel 145 (previously 144), while UKTV Food +1 is now on channel 146 (previously 145), and UKTV Drama has switched to channel 147 (previously 146). The changes will allow UKTV Style Gardens to launch on channel 144, as reported in our separate story.

    Sit Up TV to launch new shopping channel

    Sit Up TV, the company that runs shopping channels Bid TV and Price-Drop.TV, is to launch another retail channel. The broadcaster has already begun advertising job positions for the new channel, which is reportedly ' a dynamic pricing retail channel'.

    Ofcom kills off two shopping channels

    Media regulator Ofcom has revoked the broadcast licences of two Sky Digital shopping channels following complaints from consumers and the advertising standards watchdog. The action is against Shop Smart Television and Chase-it. Both channels stopped broadcasting in November at the same time as Ofcom issued its largest ever fine, £450,000, against Chase-it owner Auctionworld.

    Joey proves a big hit for Channel Five

    The debut of Friends spin-off Joey, starring Matt Le Blanc, gave Channel Five its highest-ever audience outside of movies and sports. The sitcom attracted 4.1 million viewers - a 16% share - which exceeds the previous best-ever audience of 4 million for an episode of CSI last April.

    Nickelodeon channels return to Telewest

    Cable TV service Telewest has signed a new contract to carry the four Nickelodeon kids channels, returning the channels to Telewest's line-up after they were pulled before Christmas during a contract dispute.

    Channel Five launches interactive betting

    Channel Five has extended its interactive TV agreement with Sky by launching a betting service so that viewers can gamble on the station's UEFA football coverage. It has signed a deal with Sky Bet to offer an additional strand to its 'red button' service.

    Satellite channels float on stock exchange

    TV Commerce Holdings, the operator of digital satellite TV channels The Advert Channel and Your Destiny TV, is to float on the London Stock Exchange's AIM index this week. The offer puts 49% of the company on the market, valuing it at around £5m. The company is expected to launch new betting and gaming channels on Sky Digital once the float has been completed.

    More of this week's digital TV news in brief...

    Teachers TV is to move to Sky Digital channel 592 from 686 this week... Set top box maker Amstrad’s just-released financial results for the six months ended December 31 2004 show record first-half pre-tax profits of £14.2m against £7.1m last time... Hindi music channel Vectone Bolly is to become a general entertainment channel... Pace has won an order to deliver digital satellite set-top boxes to British military bases and ships at sea to let military audiences overseas receive the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) digital TV service... The BBC is overhauling its comedy and entertainment department, creating a new head of comedy commissioning role, as well as a £9m budget for developing shows outside London... Canal Plus is to launch a premium TV package in France called Canal Plus Le Bouquet comprising four channels in addition to the present Canal Plus premium service... The production company Target Entertainment has been commissioned by ITV2 to produce several films for ITV2's Celebrities Exposed strand - Hollywood Rumours! and Bad Boys and Hell Raisers!... BBC1 has announced that it plans to spend an additional £3 million on primetime current affairs and investigative programs in 2005-06, resulting in a total annual airtime of 48.5 hours.

    New mobile phone TV channel launches on Sky

    The company that runs Snatch It and has launched a new mobile phone shopping channel called on Sky Channel 658. Viewers can compare a range of tariffs across different phone networks.

    Regards Satdude.

  5. #5
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    Default Satellite news 02.03.05

    Satellite news 02.03.05


    Get FilmFour for free during March!

    Sky Digital viewers can receive pay channel FilmFour totally free for the whole of March if they sign up to a promotional offer in the Sky customer magazine. To take advantage of the offer, viewers should telephone 0800 441234 and quote the promotional code FC29 X001. The offer ends on March 31, 2005 and viewers who do not want to subscribe to the channel after March must cancel their subscription or be billed for the FilmFour subscription at £7/month.

    EastEnders goes interactive this week

    The BBC is adding interactivity to EastEnders for the first time on Monday February 28th, while ITV is preparing the launch of its own Coronation Street service this summer. EastEnders Xtra will be available to digital viewers immediately after the show goes out on Monday nights and will provide 15-minute behind-the-scenes shows with more in-depth insight into the show's characters, cast, storylines and gossip. Meanwhile, Corrie is reportedly planning to offer behind-the-scenes clips, programme out-takes and supplementary storylines.

    RTL to launch German pay channel in UK?

    Germany's RTL Group could be set to launch a pay TV service in the UK over the next 18 months after the broadcaster announced plans to move into the European pay TV sector for the first time. RTL Group CEO Gerhard Zeiler said: "Not all of our (31) television channels can be financed solely through advertising. So we will set up channels that will require viewers to pay a subscription fee." He did not give details of the new strategy, except to say that RTL would be targeting Europe's major TV markets for its pay expansion. He added that RTL does not have any immediate plans to launch a pay TV channel in Germany, saying: "At the moment, we do not see any strategic necessity in getting into German pay TV."

    Set top box maker Pace moves into healthcare

    Pace, one of the largest makers of digital set top TV boxes in Europe, is reported to be considering a move into healthcare in an attempt to reduce its reliance on the low-margin set-top box market. John Dyson, chief executive, told The Guardian that Pace would invest some of its research and development budget in healthcare products this year - but he stressed that Pace was not planning to leave the set-top box business altogether.

    Channel 4 reveals launch date for new channel

    Channel 4 has announced that its planned free-to-air factual channel More4 will launch in October. It will be targeted at ABC1 viewers over 35 and will have a huge £30m annual programme budget. It will focus mainly on documentaries with daily news programmes and current affairs shows which, according to Channel 4's director of TV Kevin Lygo, will be "more down-to-earth and accessible than BBC4." He added: "More4 will have clear public service ambitions and will commission original programmes across a number of genres. It will have a strong international and multi-cultural flavour."

    Sky News to completely revamp its schedule

    Sky News is planning to revamp its schedule later this year with a brand new line-up of 'appointment-to-view' news bulletins based around its presenters. Sky News boss Nick Pollard is reportedly keen to move away from continuous rolling news and instead introduce a format similar to that of its sister channel Fox News. The new programmes will be built around specific presenters, both from the existing team, and new recruits. Breaking news will, however, continue to be added into the bulletins at short notice and shall take precedence over scheduled programmes.

    Hallmark Channel sold for £126m to Elstein

    The Hallmark Channel's UK and international networks have been bought for £126m by a consortium led by former Channel Five boss David Elstein. The sale includes all of the Hallmark Channel distributed outside the US to 152 countries, with 60 million subscribers, plus the international rights to over 580 titles, and a broadcast facility in Colorado. The announcement came as Hallmark UK's chief executive, Jeff Henry, announced he was to quit the channel. Two senior Hallmark Europe execs were made redundant.

    Sky confirms launch of second slot SkyCard

    Sky has announced plans to launch its own credit card which will be able to be inserted into Digiboxes to reward subscribers for remaining with the servivce. Viewers will be able to earn reward points on purchases made using their remote controls. Sky has signed a deal with Barclaycard to launch 'SkyCard', which subscribers will be able to insert into the second slot of their set-top boxes. Jon Florsheim, Sky's chief of sales, said: "SkyCard will build on the value delivered to customers, enabling them to save money through the loyalty scheme and to get more out of their Sky digital subscription."

    New shopping channel starts this week

    New shopping channel EeZee TV is to launch on Sky Digital channel 659 on Tuesday March 1. The channel claims it will be different to other channels by being 'entertaining' and also promising next day delivery for products ordered by 5pm.

    Sky News unveils election coverage plans

    Sky News boss Nick Pollard has admitted for the first time that the channel "bored viewers" with its non-stop coverage of the 2001 general election and that it will be taking a "more imaginative" approach to this year's general election. He told an audience at the Broadcasting Press Guild: "In 2001 I don't think we got it right. We did it absolutely wall-to-wall - everything that moved and spoke, we covered. We were very indiscriminate. It was wrong." This year, the channel will adopt a strategy of "taking it to real people" by broadcasting what politicians have promised and what they have delivered.

    This week's digital TV news in brief...

    Sky News has won 'News channel of the year' for the 4th year running at The Royal Television Society Awards... Entertainment channel Sound TV has replaced Information TV on Sky Digital channel 588... Media regulator Ofcom has given the go-ahead for ITV to cut its output of children's and religious programming... Cartoon Network is to launch a Russian language service in April... ITV and Channel 4 are reported to be the strongest contenders in the battle for the vacant Freeview channel... Horse racing channel Racing UK has launched on NTL's digital cable service... Sky has relaunched its interactive service, Sky Active, with a new look interface that's been created by its in-house design team.

    UKTV Style Gardens launches on Sky

    The UK's first TV channel aimed at green-fingered viewers has launched on Sky Digital. UKTV Style Gardens is now available on Sky Digital channel 144. Its programmes include Gardeners’ World, Gardening With The Experts and How To Be A Gardener.

    Regards Satdude.



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