Satellie news 11.07.06


Sky News launches new interactive news show

Sky News presenter Martin Stanford is to host a new weekday evening show that will replace the axed World News Tonight with James Rubin. The 8pm-9pm show launches on Monday (July 10), and will take Sky News in a new direction by inviting contributors to send in video or webcam clips. Sky News is also launching a blog, News Brief, looking at the day's news agenda, with versions aimed at the media, skynews/publicity, and the general public, sky.c*m/ne*ws. Stanford is a 16-year Sky News veteran who currently co-presents the channel's Sky News Today morning programme.

Film Four gets new name as it goes free

Channel 4's film channel, Film4, will relaunch as a free service on July 23 with the premiere of the Oscar-winning comedy Lost in Translation. The channel will then become the UK's largest free film channel, available to 18m homes, claims the broadcaster. A quarter of the films shown on the channel will come from the UK, but they will be broken up with ads. Currently branded as FilmFour, it has only been available to cable and satellite viewers. Its new name and look will see it join the Freeview service. The decision to make the channel free-to-air comes a year after Channel 4 did the same for E4, which resulted in a large increase in viewing figures. Film4 will screen six films a day.

Big audience increase for Disney channel

The Disney Channel claims to have become the UK's most popular commercial kids channel following its move away from premium subscription to join Sky's basic pay-TV package. The channel has seen its viewing figures reach a record level, with share up by 48% since it moved from Sky and NTL's premium package six weeks ago.

BBC TV viewing figures sink as Net usage grows

The BBC's share of the national TV audience slipped last year with teenagers switching off in "disproportionately large numbers", the corporation said in its annual report for 2005-06. The percentage of people watching at least 15 minutes of BBC television programming a week - the BBC's measure of 'audience reach' - fell last year to 85.3%, down from 86.6%. Radio audiences remained stable, with weekly reach down just 0.1% at 66.5%.

BBC plans to offer personalised radio

BBC director general Mark Thompson has announced plans to allow audiences to create personal radio stations from its content. The planned service, provisionally called MyBBCRadio, was revealed by Thompson at the Radio Festival in Cambridge. It aims to give audiences more control by combining existing services such as podcasts and the BBC Radio Player. It will be part of the BBC's iPlayer, a free service which will also offer seven days of BBC TV on demand. Thompson said MyBBCRadio would use peer-to-peer technology to provide "thousands, ultimately millions, of individual radio services created by audiences themselves".

Digital TV news in brief...

On Sky Digital, Look4Less TV has launched on channel 680... Quiz TV has been removed from the Sky line-up on channel 852... The BBC has committed to halve the number of repeats on BBC1 by 2009, as part of the corporation's annual report... The Apple FM audio channel has been removed from channel 0163... The HorrorChannel on Sky channel 321 is now called Zone Horror... On Sky channel 146 You TV has been renamed Sumo TV... Porn channel LIVE XXX TV on channel 943 has been removed fro Sky's EPG... New channels that have just joined the Sky line-up include 322 Zone Thriller, 681 Price Busters and 918 Look4Love2 TV... ITV is to launch a '+1' time-shifted version of its popular ITV2 channel later this year on Sky Digital.

Sky Report producer signs off

Sky News executive producer Nick Phipps has sent out a farewell email to viewers of the Sky Report, which ended last week as part of the channel's return to rolling news. The show was launched lasrt autumn as an investigative programme and despite breaking some big stories did not attract large audience figures.

Setanta Sports to launch golf channel in 2007

Setanta Sports have been granted exclusive live rights to cover The PGA Tour, the biggest competition in the golf calendar. The six-year deal starts on 1 January 2007 and gives Setanta the rights to all PGA Tour events and programming including The Players’ Championship, which annually features the deepest field of the TOUR schedule. Setanta will also showcase the 24 events in the Champions Tour for champions aged 50 and over, and also show extensive coverage of the Nationwide Tour in which an international roster of players battle for a place on the PGA Tour. These events will form the cornerstone of a new 24-hour Setanta Golf Channel which will launch on New Year's Day 2007. Setanta's Director of Sports, Trevor East, said: "We are privileged to be associated with an organisation as prestigious as the PGA TOUR. Following quickly of the heels of our recent English and Scottish Premier League successes, this is a major coup for Setanta. A dedicated golf channel featuring the game's biggest names in peak viewing time alongside our major football content provides a compelling proposition for subscribers."

New equestrian channel starts filming shows

Horse & Country TV, the channel for equestrian and country enthusiasts that is due to launch on Sky this autumn, has started filming its programmes. The new channel, which is to be run in partnership with British Eventing, British Dressage and the British Show Jumping Association, has been filming the British Eventing team in training ahead of the forthcoming World Equestrian Games at Aachen.

Huge BBC pay rises anger trade union officials

Mark Thompson and other BBC chiefs shared £3.73 million last year, during a period in which audience share declined and the proportion of licence payers’ money spent on programmes fell. Thompson, the Director General, earned £609,000, 10 per cent ahead of his £562,000 salary last year, while four other top executives received pay increases of between 6 and 15 per cent — well ahead of the 2.6 per cent offered to BBC staff. Trade union officials warned that they would consider holding a strike ballot, after learning of the above-inflation pay increases, which were published in the Corporation’s annual report.

BBC restructuring set to be unveiled in July

A major restructure of the BBC's creative divisions is set to be unveiled on July 19, network director general Mark Thompson said at a press conference. The move is expected to see director of television Jana Bennett head a newly merged broadcasting and production division and see BBC creative director Alan Yentob step down to focus more closely on his on-camera role, according to insiders. Announcing reports and accounts for 2005-06, Thompson said the BBC's total income topped £4.2 billion last year and a record £3.1 billion contribution came from the license fee, an increase of £160 million from the previous year.

Sky News clinches award for 7/7 coverage

Sky News won a top award at the prestigious 46th Monte-Carlo Television Festival. The station picked up the 'Best 24-hour News Programme' for its coverage of the July 7th London B*mbings, beating off competition from CNN and BBC News 24.

NTL cable TV services to get Virgin makeover

NTL will re-brand its cable, Internet and telecoms businesses under the Virgin banner from 2007, the company announced as it completed its £962 million acquisition of mobile phone group Virgin Mobile. Shares in Virgin Mobile were de-listed from the London Stock Exchange after NTL received the necessary court approvals for the deal. The combined group will launch a "quadruple" play offer of cable television, broadband Internet, home phone calls and mobile telephony from next year. "It is anticipated that the company will start marketing a single portfolio of services under the Virgin brand some time early in 2007, if not sooner," said the company.

Huge TV audience figures for World Cup

The 2006 soccer World Cup has generated huge TV audiences. The quarter final games scored huge audiences in Europe, with World Cup host Germany leading the way. An average of 24.8 million Germans, representing a staggering 86.1% market share, watched their team beat Argentina in a nail-biting game. That figure jumped to a peak of 28.7 million and 90% of the overall audience in the final minutes as Germany beat the South Americans in a penalty shoot-out.

Eurosport to launch in Serbia on July 12

Pan-European sports channel Eurosport has announced it is expanding its Eastern European operations and will launch into Serbia on July 12. The channel will be produced in the capital of Belgrade, broadcast in Serbian on a representative number of cable networks, with sports commentary delivered by a team of local sports reporters. With the addition of Serbia, Eurosport now broadcasts in 20 languages to a daily average of 22 million viewers in 54 countries.