Satellite news 02.06.05


Channel Five 'makes offer' for soccer TV rights

Channel Five is reported to have made a "substantial offer" for TV rights to Champions League football matches from next year. Its rival, ITV, has covered the tournament since its inception in 1992 and currently shares the rights with Sky, but Five is now targeting the terrestrial rights.

MTV to launch new Caribbean music channel

MTV is to launch a new digital TV channel called Tempo dedicated to Caribbean music and culture - however the station will only be available in the US and Caribbean initially. The channel, launching in October, will provide a mix of acquired and original programming relevant to the spirit of the Caribbean and its lifestyle. If successful, it could make its European debut in the UK next year.

Virgin TV to launch on mobile phones

Virgin Mobile is to launch a TV service that will allow customers to watch a range of digital channels and even record programmes on their mobile phones. Virgin Mobile said that the service will take the existing digital broadcast signal and adapt it so it can be viewed on a mobile phone. Virgin Mobile has reportedly abandoned its network partner T-Mobile for the service, but will use the company's 3G network to offer interactive elements.

British Eurosport joins Top Up TV's line-up

Freeview viewers who subscribe to the £7.99-a-month Top Up TV package can now watch British Eurosport after the sports service decided to join Top Up's 10-channel package on channel 49. It has replaced E4, which has become free-to-air. Eurosport is on air for nine hours a day between 2pm and 11pm. It is the second sports channel on digital terrestrial TV, joining Sky Sports News.

Premier League brings in government man

Sky's current £1bn deal for live Premiership football expires in 2007 and the FA has hired Bill Bush, a former special adviser to the culture secretary, to be closely involved in the negotiations leading up to the new TV rights contract. He has become the director of public policy at the Premier League.

ITV4 to target men when it launches this autumn

ITV has confirmed this week that it will launch ITV4, its latest digital channel, in the autumn. CEO Mick Desmond said it will be a male-biased channel but "it's absolutely not Men and Motors." He added that the channel will have a more populist feel and will be aimed at men of all ages. "In the same way ITV2 is young and more female and ITV3 is older and more upmarket, ITV4 will be more male-biased but with a generalist programme," he said. Its schedule will include sport, police dramas and US sitcoms.

New quiz channel starts on Sky Digital

A new quiz channel has launched on Sky Digital channel 276 called The Great Big British Quiz. Former kids TV presenter Timmy Mallett was the first face seen the station. Managing Director Mark Murphy said the British public has a huge appetite for quizzes and games, and claims the new channel is the only service to consistently give away high returns to its viewers. The free-to-air station is on air daily from 3pm until 2am.

New gay TV channel unveils launch plans

A brand new gay channel called Faze TV will make its debut on Sky Digital on September 1. The pay-TV station will launch after a big advertising push at this summer's gay pride festivals. "The launch of a TV channel just for gay men is long overdue in Britain," said Bouchier. "The channel’s schedule will appeal to every aspect of being a gay man in Britain today and we will avoid the clichés which mainstream channels use to appeal to their ‘straight’ audience. There are many gay men on television today – but no TV for gay men."

New channel number for Sound TV

Sound TV and Information TV have moved to a new EPG channel number on Sky Digital. They have moved from the News & Documentaries section to channel 277 in the Entertainment section.

High definition TV coverage of French Open

The finals of the Roland Garros French Open will be shown live on the Hot Bird satellite in high definition format this week. The coverage at 13° East will be available at 11.242GHz/V (SR 27,500). HDTV signals offer an increased image resolution by incrementing the number of scan lines and the number of pixels per each line. HDTV signals offer up to 1080 active lines and 1920 pixels per line, instead of the 576 lines and 720 pixels per line provided by PAL TV.

Ofcom aiming for 98.5% DTT coverage

Ofcom says digital terrestrial television (DTT) coverage in the UK should reach at least the same proportion of households (98.5 per cent) after switchover as are reached by current analogue TV broadcasts. This is to ensure that after switchover UK households continue to receive the nationally available public service TV channels such as BBC1, BBC2, ITV1 and Channel 4.

Digital TV news in brief...

Performance Channel owner Eicom has bought the Job Channel from MultiMedia Television for £1m... Germany's Premiere is to launch an international TV channel in September with programming for Turkish, Italian and Russian inhabitants... Channel 4 has given the racing and betting industries until the end of the week to decide whether to keep coverage of the sport on TV following lengthy negotiations about the TV rights... CNN is celebrating its 25th anniversary... Crown Castle has confirmed that Channel 4 has secured the latest vacant channel space on Freeview... The opening show of the sixth series of Channel 4's Big Brother managed to dominate viewing last week with a peak of 7 million viewers (35.5% share) at 10pm... BBC unions have threatened to continue with strike action after failing to agree a compromise on some 4,000 job cuts at the corporation.

Regards Satdude.