Satellite news 06.06.05


South Asia World launches on Sky Digital

An Asian news TV channel, South Asia World, has launched on Sky Digital channel 540. Broadcasting live from India and the US, the English-language channel targets South Asian viewers with a mixture of news and programmes from India and the Asian continent, plus local content from the US and UK. The channel is broadcasting on a free-to-air basis until the end of June when it will join the five ZEE channels on a subscription basis.

ITN wins contract to supply news to More4

ITN has won the contract to produce More4's daily news bulletin when the channel launches this autumn. The programme will air for 30 minutes each day and will offer an in-depth look at the stories covered in the earlier Channel 4 News. "We're working hard with C4 to produce a distinctive and original news programme for More4," said C4 News editor Jim Gray. "We're planning a programme which brings the values and strengths of Channel 4 News to a public service digital channel, including reportage, analysis and international coverage." More4 is due to launch as a free-to-air channel on Freeview and Sky Digital in October.

Sky News offers free transcripts on Web site

Sky News is now offering transcripts of major interviews and programmes on a dedicated Web site. The site offers word-for-word text versions of Sky News' interviews with various politicians dating back to 2003. The site can be accessed here.

Freeview picks company for customer support

MGt, a supplier of support services to the media industry, has been chosen by Freeview to provide its customer services. All aspects of Freeview's customer service requirements will be covered by MGt over the next two years. All telephone enquiries will be routed via the company's Scottish contact centre, and its CRM system will be used to answer many queries automatically via advanced speech recognition (ASR) technology.

Sky Sports signs up cricketer for adverts

Cricket star Shane Warne is the centrepiece of a new advertising campaign by Sky to promote its coverage of the summer’s battle between England and Australia. The cricketer will feature in both parts of a campaign that will spearhead coverage of the one day internationals and Ashes series highlights on Sky Sports. The advert depicts Warne as a convict being deported to Australia, only to return to do battle with the old enemy on the cricket field. Other well known cricketing names featuring in the advertisement include Nasser Hussain, David Lloyd, Ian Botham and David Gower. A Sky Sports spokesman said: "We wanted to film a promo that captured some of the unique history behind the England Australia sporting rivalry."

Interactive coverage of Live8 concert from BBC

BBC TV and radio channels are planning live and interactive coverage of Live8, the fundraising concert being overseen by Bob Geldof. The free event will be held in London's Hyde Park on July 2 with concerts in Philadelphia, Paris, Rome and Berlin to highlight the ongoing problem of global poverty and debt.

WWE seeks sponsors in promotional drive

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has launched a major sponsorship acquisition drive. The move reflects the need "to capitalise on the strong growth of the WWE brand in key international territories including the UK, Australia, Italy and Germany," according to WWE. An increase in touring activity has expanded its presence with more than 60 international live events planned in the current financial year. Jonathan Sully, vice president of international marketing, said: "We want to develop creative relationships with sponsors who can benefit from the unique opportunities WWE can provide through our connection to families and the 16 to 24-year-old age group at live events."

Digital TV news in brief...

BBC Broadcast has won the six-year contract to playout ESPN Classic Sport across 40 European countries... MTV is bringing back BOOM! Music Video Academy, which gives school children the chance to make music videos in classrooms, for a second year... MTV is launching Nickelodeon in Portugal via cable operator TV Cabo.

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.

British Eurosport joins Top Up TV's line-up

Freeview viewers who subscribe to the Ł7.99-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.

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."

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.

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.

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