Satellite news 04.07.05


Audience figures on the slide at Five

Channel Five has seen its ratings drop for almost the first time in its eight-year history. The fall is likely to force the terrestrial channel to speed up its long-awaited announcement about plans for a digital platform or a partnership with a digital broadcaster such as Flextech. It saw a year-to-year drop from 6.8% to 6.6% of audience share in the first six months of the year.

At The Races apologises for on air swearing

Horse racing channel At The Races has apologised to media regulators at Ofcom after a studio presenter swore live on air. He had handed over to the on-course presenters and thought that his microphone had been switched off. In jest, he had said to another presenter “oh f*** off”. A viewer complained that no subsequent apology was given. At The Races has said that the presenter in question had been warned and that its other presenters had received written reminders that swearing or bad language would not be tolerated. Ofcom says the issue is now resolved.

New Asian TV channels start on Sky Digital

Two new Asian TV channels have joined the Sky Digital line-up - DM Digital on channel 841 and ATN Bangla on 842. DM is showing entertainment and information for British Asians, with plans to add Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi movies soon. It also hopes to launch DM TV Shop, the UK's first Asian TV shopping channel, soon. Meanwhile, ATN is being broadcast live from Bangladesh.

Huge ratings for MTV's vehicle makeover show

MTV UK said that its version of vehicle makeover show Pimp My Ride started last weekend with the highest rating of any original UK show. The half-hour programme gave MTV a 2.3% audience share (500,000 viewers) and the third-highest 16-24 audience share across all channels, even beating the series finale of 24 on Sky One. Its performance was the best of any MTV debut series with the exception of cult hit The Osbournes.

Channel 4 to launch new quiz channel

Channel 4 is reportedly set to launch a new phone-in quiz channel before the end of 2005. The channel will encourage viewers to play for cash prizes by ringing premium rate phone numbers, similar to rival services Sky Quiz Live and Nation 217.

ITV and BBC clinch World Cup TV rights deals

Football's governing body FIFA has announced the TV agreements for the 2010 World Cup. ITV and BBC have signed a deal to broadcast not only the World Cup Finals in 2010 in South Africa but also in 2014, to be held in South America. The deal covers all 64 matches of both tournaments. The two UK networks have shared the World Cup for the past 10 tournaments. ITV director of programmes Nigel Pickard said: "As the choice of channels increases, live events are ever more important to attract national audiences - and they don’t come any bigger than the football World Cup."

Sky to reshuffle foreign channels in EPG

Sky is set to reshuffle the EPG numbers of several of its foreign language channels later in July. The switches are reportedly set to come into effect on July 25 and see the Vectone channels, MATV National, DW-TV and TVEi taking new channel numbers while other broadcasters will remain in their existing slots.

E4 and Channel 4 to show new Fox sitcom

Channel 4 has bought the TV rights to new US sitcom My Name is Earl from Fox, hoping that it will be the network's big comedy hit of next year. The series follows the adventures of a small-time crook played by Jason Lee (Vanilla Sky, Almost Famous, The Incredibles), who, after winning the lottery and nearly losing his life, discovers “karma” and vows to make up for his past misdeeds. The show launches in the US in September 2005 and will be broadcast in the UK on C4 and E4 during 2006.

BBC's interactive Wimbledon is a smash hit

The BBC's interactive Wimbledon service proved more popular than ever with more than two and a half million viewers pressing the red button during the first four days of the event. Of Sky Digital viewers, some 2,647,000 viewers pressed red to access the service.

ITV1 could join Sky in mobile phone TV trials

According to press reports, ITV1 is close to signing a deal to join mobile mobile operator O2’s trial over live TV on mobile handsets. Sky, Discovery and Turner are to start trial broadcasts with O2 and NTL Broadcast in Oxford from September - and ITV1 could become the first terrestrial channel to join in. “When clearance on existing rights are agreed, ITV will be available on O2 phones,” O2 vice president of research and development Mike Short said.

Sky One 'embroiled in row over soccer series'

Sky One is reported to be embroiled in a 'format rip-off row' over its upcoming Chelsea FC football talent search series, Football Icon. The programme is apparently seen by some as being a little too close to SoccaStars, the format owned by Screentime, the creators of Popstars.

More digital TV news in brief...

GlobeCast announced the addition of a new transponder to its capacity on the Eurobird satellite. Joining the company’s three other digital DTH platforms on Eurobird, the new capacity will enable more broadcasters to launch channels in the Sky Digital line-up... LivingTV is building on its paranormal programming schedule with two new commissions that will join the likes of Most Haunted and Dead Famous... ITV4 is to broadcast programming aimed at men when it launches later this year, complementing the female demographic of ITV2 and the older audience of ITV3... German channel Tele 5 has announced that it is overhauling its entire programming to re-launch as an all-movie channel... ITV and Five have welcomed Ofcom's decision to slash their licence fees as a result of the upcoming digital TV switchover and the declining value of analogue licences.

Regards Satdude.