Satellite news 05.09.05
Bids submitted for Flextech's 22 TV channels
With bids having been submitted, the sale of the 22-channel Flextech group is under way. Broadcasters including ITV, Sky, RTL, Viacom, Discovery, Time Warner and Sparrowhawk Media (which recently acquired Hallmark's international networks) are reported to have made bids. First-round bids are said to be between £800 million and £1.1 billion, according to media reports. Flextech's channels "represent a 6% share of viewing in multichannel homes and are a very important asset," said city analyst Mike Hilton of UBS. "Ownership could help shape the future of the British TV market."
The Baby Channel crawls onto Sky Digital
A new channel aimed at pregnant women, expectant fathers and parents of pre-school children aged 0-4 called The Baby Channel is set to launch on Sky Digital shortly. The free-to-air station will be on air each day from 6am to 8pm from October 10. Its programme schedule will cover pregnancy, child health, early learning, first aid, safety and cooking for children. The channel will also have an interactive shopping service selling baby-related merchandise.
New time-shifted Paramount channel launches
Paramount Comedy +1, a time-shifted version of the Paramount Comedy schedule which replays programmes on a one hour delay has launched on Sky Digital number 128.
Channel 4 could switch from ITN to Sky News
Channel 4 is reported to be looking into the possibility of switching from ITN to Sky News for news coverage. Insiders at the channel have told The Guardian that the decision-making process is underway and that a final decision is due to be made over the next few months. It comes just days after Channel 4 announced that it would be expanding its news coverage by introducing an 8pm bulletin on its new digital channel More4.
Freeview now in five million households
Freeview now reaches over 5 million UK households, according Ofcom's latest quarterly report. The report also states that 30 per cent of all TV viewing is to multi-channel services.
New look to be revealed for ITV channels
ITV's channels are to get a complete makeover later in 2005. The existing blue and yellow imagery will be replaced with specific on-screen identities that "reflect their individual personalities." According to press reports, BBC Broadcast is working on the revamp and ITV4, the channel targeted at men aged 25-44 that is due to be launched in November, will get the new look.
New shopping channel to launch in October
A new shopping channel called Downtown Superstore TV is set to launch on Sky Digital during October. The channel will launch on channel 640 from studios inside its Downtown garden centre store based in Grantham, Lincolnshire.
Sky News presenter quits to join Al-Jazeera
Sky News presenter David Foster has joined the controversial Arab satellite news channel Al-Jazeera. Foster has been a journalist for 33 years and has worked at Sky News since 1997 as a presenter and business correspondent. Al-Jazeera announced earlier this year that it will be launching an English version of its channel in 2006.
Discovery HD channel will have mixed schedule
Discovery's upcoming UK high definition (HDTV) channel will be a mixed genre offering, according to media press reports. The 24-hour station has a working title of Discovery HD Theatre and will reportedly feature a range of culture, travel, history, wildlife and lifestyle programmes. "Discovery wants to be seen as the home of high definition when it comes to real world factual programming," said Don Baer, senior executive vice president for strategy and development at Discovery Communications. "It is our intention to be the most respected in the area."
New Asian shopping channel begins tests
Soon-to-launch Asian shopping channel Star Bazaar has started full test transmissions ahead of the channel's official launch. The channel is available at 11.259GHz/V (SR 27.5 / FEC 2/3) under the ident 52156. Once launched, the channel will sell fashion, high tech items and food and drink.
More digital TV news
TalkSport's breakfast presenter Alan Brazil has joined horse racing channel At The Races to present a new Monday night edition of the sports betting show Get On Tonight... Spending on taxis by the BBC increased last year by 3.5% to £11.8m, despite attempts by the director general Mark Thompson to cut back... Sky looks set to close eight of its pay-per-view Box Office channels this Wednesday, September 7. Sky Box Office 747-754 will all go off air, according to EPG announcements...
Nat Geo commissions ITV series on terror
The National Geographic Channel has commissioned a three-hour miniseries from the UK's ITN Factual department. Called Reign of Terror, it will examine the nature of modern terrorism and marks the first collaboration between the two companies.
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