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Satellite news 20.12.07

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Satdude

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Satellite news 06.06.05

News

South Asia World launches on Sk'y Digit'al

An Asian news TV channel, South Asia World, has launched on Sk'y Digi'tal 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 Sk'y Digit'al 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 S'ky 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.

S'ky Sports signs up cricketer for adverts

Cricket star Shane Warne is the centrepiece of a new advertising campaign by S'ky 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 S'ky Spo'rts. 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 S'ky Sp'orts 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 S'ky Dig'ital

A new quiz channel has launched on S'ky Dig'ital 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 £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.

New mature content TV channel unveils launch plans

A brand new mature content channel called Faze TV will make its debut on S'ky Dig'ital on September 1. The pay-TV station will launch after a big advertising push at this summer's mature content pride festivals. "The launch of a TV channel just for mature content men is long overdue in Britain," said Bouchier. "The channel’s schedule will appeal to every aspect of being a mature content man in Britain today and we will avoid the clichés which mainstream channels use to appeal to their ‘straight’ audience. There are many mature content men on television today – but no TV for mature content 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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Satellite news 13.06.05

News

Auction World TV bosses summoned to court

Three of the bosses at the collapsed Auction World TV channel have been summoned to appear at a magistrates court to face charges of misleading buyers over prices, according to press reports. Hertfordshire Trading Standards have been investigating the broadcaster, which went bust last year with debts it could not pay of £20million. The channel's managing director, operations director, and company lawyer must each account for 52 occasions when it is alleged the channel broke the Consumer Protection Act. The first hearing will be at East Hertfordshire Magistrates on July 29.

Sky holds onto TV rights to Football League

The Football League has announced new broadcasting deals with Sky Sports and ITV. Sky Sports has been awarded the exclusive live rights to The League's competitions until the summer of 2009. The three year agreement for seasons 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09 provides increased revenue for clubs and more live matches on Sky Sports for fans. This new agreement will see Sky Sports broadcast around 100 live matches per season from The Football League's competitions. Meanwhile, a three-year extension to the highlights deal with ITV Sport was also renewed until the summer of 2009.

ITV regional channels come to Sky

After a lengthy wait, several of the remaining sub-regions for ITV are to launch on Sky. The two Central East and Central South sub-regions that have been absent from Sky since ITV first launched on the platform are expected to become available this week on channel 103. Viewers in those regions have been getting Central West, which includes the news for Birmingham. Also, next week, it is expected that the Anglia East and Scottish TV East regions will be added to the Sky Digital line-up.

New religious TV channel starts on Sky Digital

Christian channel Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) has launched on Sky Digital channel 680. The channel, which has been broadcasting for more than 20 years in the US, is available on a free to air basis 24 hours a day.

Setanta Sports 'could buy Sky's soccer rights'

Sky's long-term hold on Premier League football TV rights could be in doubt as Irish TV group Setanta Sports attempts to lure a key Sky Sports executive, Trevor East, to join its operation. According to a report in the Financial Times, East's contract is up for renewal soon, but the deputy managing director of Sky Sports has been approached to lead the acquisition of sports rights for Setanta. The Irish company already owns rights to Scottish Premier League matches as well as other sports rights.

New Sky Mobile service is unveiled

Sky is launching a service that allows mobile phone users to keep up to date with the latest sports, news and weather. Sky Mobile claims to be 'the only service where users can access the entire range of Sky's mobile content in a single, integrated application'. The launch of Sky Mobile represents the latest development of Sky's services for mobile users. Its current activities include deals with Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and '3' to deliver news and sports content via SMS, WAP, MMS and 3G video. Sky Mobile is a downloadable Symbian application requiring General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) or 3G network support. Mobile networks that currently support connections to the application include Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, Orange and Virgin Mobile.

Smooth FM launches on Freeview

Smooth FM has launched on Freeview, replacing Jazz FM on channel 88 which ceased broadcasting live programing last month. A new screen has appeared on channel 88 stating "102.2 smoothfm - go with the flow".

Frank Warren may move his boxers to ITV

Boxing's foremost promoter Frank Warren may soon return to ITV from Sky Sports, according to press reports. His contract with the satellite channel runs out at the end of June. It comes as ITV announced it has signed a deal to broadcast Junior Witter's European light welterweight defence on 9 July, which will be shown live on ITV1. It follows ITV's coverage of Amir Khan's final amateur fight against Olympic rival Mario Kindelan in May after the channel's 10-year break from boxing.

'More regional TV channels needed' - Ofcom

Ofcom has called for dedicated digital channels to be set up for Wales, Scotland and Ireland in order to safeguard indigenous languages in the nations.

Viacom could make bid for Flextech channels

US media giant Viacom is reportedly considering a bid for UK broadcaster Flextech. The American company is in the early stages of discussing a merger with Telewest (which owns Flextech), and both parties are keen for the new operation to concentrate on cable operations, rather than content. Viacom has been linked with major UK acquisitions in the past, and would likely face competition from other media groups such as RTL and private equity group Apax Partners, which has former BBC director-general Greg Dyke as an adviser.

Freeview passes the five million household mark

Freeview has passed the 5million household mark according to latest figures from Ofcom showing the free-to-air platform has helped digital penetration reach almost 62% of UK homes. The regulator's latest report shows 643,517 households began taking digital TV in the first quarter of 2005, bringing the overall total of digital TV households to 15.42million. Accelerating the growth is strong take-up for Freeview, with 5.06million homes now receiving the service on at least one TV set. A further 445,000 homes receive free-to-air satellite television, taking the total number of homes with free digital TV to over 5.5m.

New global Russian news TV channel to launch

The Kremlin is to launch its own international satellite TV news channel in the autumn, according to Russian media reports. Called Russia Today TV, it will be on air from September under the supervision of former Russian press minister and now advisor to president Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Lesin.

Sky News poaches two BBC presenters

Sky News has announced that it two of the BBC's presenters will be joining its channel this autumn. Ginny Buckley currently presents Holiday 2005 and was formerly the motoring editor at the News of the World. Anna Jones, who anchors News 24's 9am-1pm bulletins and has been at the BBC since 1992, will also join Sky. Nick Pollard, the Head of Sky News, said: "We are delighted that Ginny and Anna will be joining Sky News. They are both first class journalists with wide-ranging experience."

Telewest to launch TV-on-demand service

Telewest has secured agreements with BBC Worldwide, Discovery Networks Europe and National Geographic Channel Europe to supply programming for its forthcoming TV-on-demand (TVOD) service. Following the initial launch of movies-on-demand in Bristol, Telewest will make the TVOD service available region by region throughout the second half of this year, starting with 26,000 customers in Cheltenham in early July.

Sky to introduce personalised Sky+ adverts

Sky is reported to be working on new technology that lets advertisers target digital TV viewers with personalised advertisements. It is exploring the potential of technology that will allow companies to use its Sky+ personal video recorder to reach viewers via highly targeted ads downloaded to the set-top-box. Currently, there are 770,000 Sky+ subscribers.

Digital TV news in brief...

On Sky Digital Vectone Music has moved to channel 840, while Vectone Tamil has been restored on channel 832. Vectone World has been removed from channel 537... EWTN has moved to Sky Digital channel 680... BARB has started a major consultation process looking at how it should tackle the onslaught of digital channels and the resulting changes to viewing habits... Unions claim to have won a partial victory in the latest talks with the BBC after the corporation said it was open to discuss how job cuts will work across each department... ITV has backed BBC plans for a free digital satellite service that would compete with Sky, as all three parties await the outcome of an Ofcom investigation that could determine whether 'FreeSat' goes ahead... A problem at Sky has resulted in prospective credit card customers being deluged with up to 17 information packs... The BBC has changed the "press red" prompt on BBC News 24 to now include the BBCi "i" button logo, and the "loading..." prompt has also changed to include this.

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Satellite news 20.06.05

News

Sky to rejig its digital TV subscription packages

Sky is shaking up its subscription packages in a bid to achieve its target of 10m households by 2010. It follows this week's announcement by Freeview that it is continuing to grow rapidly, having added 466,430 new viewers in the three months to March 31, helping it pass the 5m mark, while Sky pulled in just 87,000 new subscribers during the same period, taking its total number of homes to 7.3m. From September, Sky is launching six new genre-based bouquets of channels, under the headings of variety, kids, knowledge, style and culture, music, and news and events. New subscribers will be able to choose a combination of either two, four or six of these, with the latter becoming the equivalent of Sky's present Family Package, which costs £19.50 per month. A Sky spokesman said: "We need to address viewers who haven't yet subscribed to pay-TV and target our marketing more effectively."

Reality TV's owners buy the Horror Channel

Zone Vision, the company behind Reality TV, is buying the Horror Channel and plans to extend the channel's reach across Europe. The Horror Channel has been on air on Sky Digital since May 2004 and founder Tony Hazell had planned to start a romance-themed channel called Amoré, but these have faltered.

Musicians Channel goes into liquidation

The Musicians Channel on Sky Digital channel 475 is reported to have gone into liquidation. The station only launched last year as a stepping stone for budding musicians but has failed to keep up with its all payments and has now gone off air.

Bidding war for football TV rights looks likely

UK broadcasters are in talks about making a joint offer for the live TV rights for Premier League football in a challenge to Sky, according to the Financial Times. NTL, Telewest and terrestrial broadcasters are considering teaming up in a joint bid while some private equity groups have also expressed interest in coming in. NTL and Telewest want the live TV rights for Premiership football as they currently have to pay an undisclosed sum to Sky to air the games, but it is thought they are left with little margin on their premium packages. Top Up TV, the pay DTT service, is also keen to broadcast live Premier League games on its platform.

High-definition version of Artsworld to launch

TV regulator Ofcom has granted a broadcast licence to Sky for a high-definition version of Artsworld. The new channel is likely to launch later this year. Artsworld currently broadcasts from 2pm-12am daily on Sky Digital channel 157.

Sky unveils plans for TV portal for Web sites

Sky is developing a new interactive TV portal that will allow Web sites to reach a new audience through TV. Scheduled to launch later this year, Sky hopes it will attract a range of web content providers including established e-business operators, not-for-profit organisations and individuals. The portal will be available without subscription to all digital satellite viewers in the UK and Ireland, and will provide access to a range of Internet services that have been adapted for TV. Sky says the portal will complement the existing entertainment, gaming and communications services available on the existing Sky Active portal by creating an inexpensive TV distribution channel for a wider range of web content. Sky claims the new portal will make it easier for website operators to launch an iTV service. More details will be available at Skyinteractive.com.

BBC planning blanket coverage of Live 8

The BBC will offer blanket coverage of all the Live 8 concerts across its network of terrestrial and digital TV channels. BBC1 and BBC2 will share live coverage of the July 2 event in London's Hyde Park live from 1pm-9.30pm. Included will be elements of the gigs in Paris, Berlin and Rome. From 10pm, BBC1 will have five hours from the Philadelphia show, while BBC3 will cover all the key shows from 7pm on Saturday to 5am on Sunday, and repeat the Philadelphia concert on the Sunday night.

Watchdog probes ITV's purchase of SDN

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to investigate ITV puchase of digital terrestrial television multiplex operator SDN to ascertain whether the deal is anti-competitive, according to press reports. The OFT said the £134m deal between ITV and SDN could be referred to the Competition Commission. The OFT said: "Should it be found to be a relevant merger situation, the OFT will further consider whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods or services that warrants reference to the Competition Commission for investigation and report."

BBC Worldwide's profits soar by 50%

BBC Worldwide has this week announced record profits of £55 million for 2004/05, a year on year increase of 50 per cent but still a relatively low 7.7 per cent return on sales increased by 7 per cent to £706 million. The profit included the first dividend from UKTV, its UK channels joint venture with Flextech Television, of £2.1 million.

Channel Five buys rights to four US TV series

Channel Five has bought four new US TV series from CBS Paramount, including a coming-of-age drama Everybody Hates Chris. The channel has picked up the Jennifer Lopez executive-produced South Beach, a drama about three young adults living in the sexy and dangerous world of Miami's beachfront, and s_x, Lies & Secrets, a drama exploring the relationship of a tight-knit group of twenty-something friends living in a small neighbourhood near Hollywood; and the comedy Out of Practice.

Digital TV news in brief...

Interactive TV company YooMedia has warned that 'sluggishness' at its games and gambling division, which runs Avago and William Hill TV, will mean that this year's earnings will be significantly lower than expected... A new reality TV series is being produced for Sky One that aims to re-instill family values among those who have lost the ability to communicate with one another... The BBC has bought the UK broadcast rights for Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated mini-series Into the West.

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Satellite news 27.06.05

News

BT pinches staff from Sky and Freeview

BT has raided Freeview and Sky for executives to head up its new entertainment business. BT has appointed Freeview's general manager Lib Charlesworth as head of sales and marketing, and Sky's head of pay-per-view Karen Saunders as head of programmes and acquisitions for its TV services division.

Pressure group backs free satellite TV service

The Voice of the Listener and Viewer pressure group is backing the launch of an independent free-to-air satellite broadcasting system and has called on the government and Ofcom to support the creation of an independent satellite TV service to provide consumers with more choice. It believes Freesat has not being pushed enough and that many viewers are unaware that it is available. Jocelyn Hay, chairman of VLV, said she's concerned that BSkyB's Freesat users need to obtain a viewing card which guarantees them free access only for five years. "Sky has made it clear that, in the event of a card changeover, it will offer replacement cards to viewers for no more than £20," she said.

Sky to launch new video-on-demand service

Sky is reportedly set to announce a Video-On-Demand over broadband service. It will let top tier subscribers (about half the total) download movies and sports programmes to their computers over a broadband connection. The move is being seen as a response to the aggressive plans of cable companies, telcos and ISPs to offer "TV on demand" services. Many media watchers expected Sky to tie up with an operator like BT. The Sky service will apparently only be available via PCs.

Sky unveils new digital TV subscription prices

Sky has unveiled details of its new pricing structure for its digital satellite customers as part of plans to offer greater choice and flexibility. The start of the new pricing on September 1 will coincide with the creation of six genre based packages of channels: Variety; Kids; Knowledge; Style and Culture; Music; and News and Events. Customers will be able to build a package that corresponds to their viewing preferences by selecting any two, any four or all six of the new channel mixes. Customers will pay £15/month for a "2 Mix" pack, £18 for a "4 Mix" pack or £21 for all six mixes, also known as the "Entertainment Pack". Irrespective of their selected combination of mixes, customers will be able to subscribe to any combination of Sky’s premium channels. Under the new model, the price of the top-tier package, Sky World (with Entertainment Pack), will be £42.50/month, compared to the current price of £41.

Lisa Aziz quits Sky News to join ITV West News

Sky News presenter Lisa Aziz is returning to the West Country to front ITV West’s new look early evening news programme. Lisa originally worked as a reporter and presenter with the station from 1984-88. She will be reunited in Bristol with former colleague Richard Lyddon on the ITV West News 6 pm flagship news programme. Lisa was news anchor at TV-AM, then presented programmes on BBC2 before becoming one of the main anchors on Sky News. Lisa said: “Having started my TV career in Bristol, first as a humble trainee at the BBC, then as a reporter and presenter at HTV West, I am really looking forward to living and working in such a challenging news area, and being part of the great ITV family once again, particularly when such exciting changes are underway." Lisa will join ITV in September.

Teletext now offered on all ITV channels

Teletext has launched a digital teletext service across all ITV's satellite channels. Together with NDS, Teletext offers Sky viewers the familiar text based, information service on digital. Digital Teletext on ITV will enable satellite viewers to access content on news, sport, weather, travel and lottery results.

Sky to make Artsworld free-to-air channel

Sky is to take full control of Artsworld and make it available to all its subscribers for no charge. From September, the majority of Sky's 7.7 million subscribers will be able to watch Artsworld, which was previously available only as an a la carte service at £6 a month. John Cassy, Artsworld's channel manager, said: "It is great news for the arts that a dedicated cultural channel will be available to millions of households."

New regional TV channel for the North West?

Phil Redmond, who recently sold independent TV outfit Mersey TV for £35m, has said he wants to launch a digital TV channel for the North West not controlled by mainstream broadcasters. Called a North West Digital Platform, the service would allow the public to air local programme material. He added: "It's a really exciting time to be in the business. What's missing is an exhibition platform, where people can put things up without have to fit in with the BBC, ITV or Channel 4 agenda. I have been involved in the public policy debate about the North West Digital Platform. We are in discussion with the North West Development Agency; they are in theory going to fund it."

Profits at Ideal Shopping soar

Ideal Shopping Direct, the shopping channel operator, has forecast profits for the six months to June 30 are unlikely to be less than £3.5 million - up from the £700,000 reported for the same period last year. It made £4.1 million for the full year 2004.

NTL and Telewest merger edges a step closer

In the clearest sign yet that NTL and Telewest are to merge, they have reportedly admitted that a detailed ‘mutual due diligence’ programme has begun as they edge towards a £6bn merger. The likely structure for the deal has emerged as a cash and shares offer from NTL for Telewest. However, it has also been reported that a sticking point in the talks remains the valuation of Flextech, Telewest's content arm which includes UKTV. Estimates vary from £450m to £1bn.

Digital TV news in brief...

On Sky Digital channel 684, Escape has been renamed Lucky Star TV... NBC Universal is mulling the launch of a second digital channel in the UK to sit alongside the Sci-Fi channel... The BBC had an audience of 4.3 million (50.2% audience share) to watch Tim Henman crash out of Wimbledon last week... Sky News is to broadcast live and verbatim a transcript of the verdict in the murder re-trial of Sion Jenkins, the first time it has ever been allowed in the UK... Soon-to-launch channel ITV4 has been given a budget of £15m for its first year's programme schedule... CANAL+ is expanding its channel line-up from five to eight to include the new local version of CANAL+SPORT and a pair of new film channels... Sweden's TV4 has launched a free live TV channel on Telia's mobile portal, SurfPort... Sky One is to go to the dogs this summer, having bought the series The Dog Whisperer.

Five and UKTV jointly buy rights to prison series

Five is sharing its latest US drama series with UKTV, having jointly acquired a Fox drama that promises to be a big hit. Prison Break follows a man who tries to help his falsely accused brother escape from death row. The show is currently in production and will premiere on Fox in late August.

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Satellite news 04.07.05

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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.

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Satellite news 12.07.05

News

ESPN to launch classic sports TV channel

US sports broadcaster ESPN is to launch a UK version of its popular Classic Sport channel. The station, which has already launched in France and Italy, shows the 'greatest moments in sport' with footage including past Olympics. Russell Wolff, managing director of ESPN International, said: "We're very focused on launching in the UK." There are also plans to launch a 24-hour live channel across Europe

BBC wants to start to Middle East news channel

The BBC wants the UK government help to create a 24-hour World Service Arabic TV news channel to challenge Al-Jazeera. The World Service is now the biggest speech radio station in Iraq, where its weekly audiences have increased to 3.3 million (22 per cent of the radio audience) from 1.8 million (13 per cent) last year. The BBC says the service would cost £25 million a year to run

New names for Setanta's sports TV channels

Irish sports broadcaster Setanta has renamed its sports channels on Sky Digital. Setanta Sports 1 is the new name for Setanta Sports (channel 429), Setanta Ireland was formerly Setanta Sports (channel 433) and Setanta Sports 2 is the new identity for Setanta Soccer (channel 434)

Channel 4 buys top US shows for E4 and More4

Channel 4 has bought the rights to a number of US TV series from Warner Bros and Buena Vista in a bid to shore up the amount of quality programmes on its digital channels E4 and the upcoming More4. Channel 4 acquisitions boss June Dromgoole has bought the hurricane drama Invasion as well as family comedy series The War at Home and murder mystery Reunion

Sky One buys up rights to Fox crime drama

Sky One has announced that it has bought the free and basic pay TV rights to 20th Century Fox's hotly anticipated crime drama Bones, which stars David Boreanaz (Angel) and Emily Deschanel. It will be broadcast on Sky One in early 2006

BBC to launch more new digital channels?

The BBC could be set to launch more new digital TV and interactive services over the coming months, having bought a new transponder on the Astra 2A satellite at 28.2 degrees East. The BBC, which already has six ASTRA transponders on ASTRA 2B and 2D, will apparently use the additional capacity to "reconfigure the satellite delivery of its portfolio of TV, radio and interactive services." BBC Controller of Distribution Richard Waghorn said: "The BBC aims to deliver its services across the UK on the platforms where our audiences expect to find them, free-to-air. The new transponder will increase our flexibility to meet our audiences' changing aspirations for the satellite platform."

LivingTV buys up four Warner Bros TV shows

LivingTV has signed a major deal with Warner Bros to buy the rights for four key TV shows. The series include the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced legal drama Too Close to Home, scheduled to air on CBS in the autumn; UPN teenage drama Veronica Mars; KoMut Entertainment's comedy Four Kings; and the chat show The Tyra Banks Show

BBC has TV rights to 2012 Olympics sewn up

The BBC will be the big winner at the 2012 Olympics when it comes to London that year. The BBC has exclusive UK rights to cover the event because the Olympics is a government-designated 'A-list' sporting event which can only be acquired by a public service free-to-air broadcaster. The BBC won the rights as part of its European Broadcast Union bid last year

New Asian channel to launch on Sky shortly

SET Max, a new sister channel from Sony Entertainment Television, is to launch on Sky Digital shortly. The channel will show 24-hour films and live concerts. It already is a big hit in the Far East, where it has won the TV rights to cricket games between India and Pakistan.

Sky to offer movies over broadband

Sky is to beef up its online service to include movies over broadband. Sky currently offers news and and football coverage, but will soon offer movies to those who subscribe to its top-end TV packages. The films, which will number around 200 at the time of launch, will be available to download and maybe at some point in the future port on to a dedicated personal media player

Men & Motors goes free-to-view on Sky Digital

Men & Motors on Sky Digital channel 136 has switched from being a subscription service in the Sky Family Package to a free-to-air channel. This means viewers with a Sky Digital or free-to-air box can now watch the channel for free

Viewing figures soar for satellite news channels

Viewing figures for the news channels soared last week as news spread about the London terrorist bombings. Sky News recorded a 4.21% share of viewing, compared to 2.1% for BBC News 24 and 0.6% for the ITV News Channel. 630,000 viewers tuned in at midday, compared to 318,000 for News 24 and 145,000 for the ITV News Channel at 9.30pm. The audience was the ninth largest in Sky News’ 16-year history

London bombings draw visitors to Web sites

On the day of last Thursday's London bombings, the Sky News website attracted 2.1m unique visitors and had over 25m page impressions – more than the site would usually get in a month. It was the second-most visited news website in the UK on the day and was the 62nd most popular site worldwide. The BBC Web site had the most visitors in a single day in the history of its news website

Sky Sports overhauls its online content

Sky Sports is to revamp its Internet service by adding game highlights to the coverage its already has online. The broadcaster is under increasing pressure at the moment as cable operators Telewest and NTL are starting to offer video on demand services

Digital TV news in brief...

Interactive gaming channel Lucky Star has moved from the specialist group of channels in the Sky Digital EPG to the entertainment section on channel 278... Trevor East, formerly Sky's Deputy Managing Director of Sport, has joined Irish sports broadcaster Setanta... Hallmark is set to launch a second UK channel early next year... A Sky News report from Beijing Correspondent Dominic Waghorn’s about the dirty blood trade has won the award for Best TV News Item at the 45th Monte-Carlo Television Festival... Speculation has re-emerged that RTL, which owns 65 per cent of Channel Five, is in talks to take full control by acquiring the 35 per cent owned by United Business Media... BBC Three will premiere a programme on broadband for the first time when it streams the new series of hit comedy The Mighty Boosh a week ahead of its transmission on July 26... ITV News editor-in-chief David Mannion has attacked the authorities for not releasing up-to-date fatality figures in the aftermath of Thursday's bomb blasts... BBC1's coverage of the 60th anniversary celebrations marking the end of the Second World War proved to be a hit with the viewers on July 10 with a peak audience of 4.1 million at 5pm... Time Warner's involvement in a £6.6bn bid for ITV was once again the subject of speculation in various newspapers, amid reports that the US media giant is lining up to take a 30% stake in the broadcaster... MTV says the relaunch of its German channels has been a success, after the four-network family grew combined ratings by 7% over the first half of 2005 compared to the same period last year... All of Sky's live Premiership games will feature as part of its new HDTV service when it starts next year

Regards Satdude. :-welcome
 

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thx for the info but why is sony entertainment television encrypted?? will it come back soon? or is it moved to another transponder or what? plzz tell me soon as posible!!!
 

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Satellite news 08.08.05

News

New legal TV channel to launch in October

A new channel offering help with legal matters is due to debut this October on Sky Digital. Legal TV will provide information on various law issues and entertainment to include dramas, documentaries and comedies. The channel will also be fully interactive. It launches on Sky on October 24

Sky Gnome device to provide roving audio

Sky has announced details of a new hardware device that provides a portable radio service for Sky Digital subscribers. Sky Gnome will be available in October and will allow Sky subscribers to remotely control their Digibox and listen to any channels subscribed to. It will also provides stereo sound, eight hours of battery time, and will be available in blue or orange colours. It will be available for no additional subscription although there is a one-off upfront charge.

Manchester TV news channel coming to Sky

The Guardian Media Group is to launch its Manchester-based Channel M TV on Sky Digital next year as part of a major programme of expansion. The station, which has long-standing ties with the Manchester Evening News, is expected to have live shows including a breakfast programme and sport and entertainment programmes created for Manchester viewers.

New luxury shopping TV channel to launch

A new shopping TV channel specialising in premium and luxury products intends to launch in September. Star Bazaar aims to be different as it will sell goods such as yachts, cars and country mansions using lifestyle and celebrity-led programmes. The channel will launch on Sky Digital on September 5.

Rapture TV set to make another comeback

Youth and culture channel Rapture is set to make a comeback on Sky Digital in October. The channel, which has been on and off air since launching in 1997 as it owners have changed, wants to return with a similar schedule to before however it intends to focus more on entertainment genres such as music and movies.


Sky profits rise sharply as subs numbers grow

Sky has reported a sharp increase in profits, up 32% to £425 million. Operating profits also rose 34 per cent to £805 million in the 12 months to the end of June, while net subscriber growth of 83,000 took the overall subscriber numbers to almost 7.8 million. Chief executive officer James Murdoch, whose continued role has been questioned following the shock resignation of elder brother Lachlan as Deputy COO at News Corp, told reporters that while he only had a one-year rolling contract, he intended to remain "for the long term." He added: "I'm fully committed to the job in hand."

Setanta launches PPV soccer on TopUpTV

Following a deal with Top Up TV, the subscription service on Freeview, Setanta is to launch a pay-per-view (PPV) channel offering live Scottish Premier League football matches. Games will cost £6 each and will be available in Scotland before a national rollout in the autumn.

New UK muslim entertainment TV channel

A new channel which claims to be "Sky One from a Muslim perspective" is to launch in the UK before the end of 2005. According to press reports, it will be called Bridges TV and will be based on a US station of the same name.

Poker Channel goes interactive from August 15

Poker fans will soon be able to play their favourite games on TV following a deal between interactive media group YooMedia and The Poker Channel. From August 15, YooMedia will provide a red-button link from The Poker Channel to a Poker Channel-branded, interactive fixed-odds gaming portal that will offer games such as Poker, Roulette, Virtual Trackside and Spin to Win. Viewers will be able to play games for fun or for real.

CNBC takes control of its international channels

CNBC is to assume control of the CNBC International channels. CNBC will acquire sole ownership of CNBC Europe and its domestic digital service, CNBC World, on December 31, 2005, subject to regulatory approvals. The transfer of ownership in CNBC Asia Pacific is likewise subject to regulatory and legal approvals. CNBC and Dow Jones have operated CNBC Europe and CNBC Asia Pacific as equal partners and Dow Jones currently has a 25 per cent interest in CNBC World. Mark Hoffman, CNBC president, said that acquiring sole ownership gave it the opportunity to further develop and grow the CNBC product and brand globally.

Details of new Astra 1M satellite revealed

Satellite manufacturer EADS Astrium has been awarded a contract to design and build Astra’s upcoming Astra 1M satellite. Astra 1M will provide eventual replacement capacity at 19.2° East and will support and protect Astra’s growth at 28.2° East. This growth is secured through Astra 1M protecting the timely relocation of Astra 2C to 28.2° East from its current position at 19.2° East, such relocation being nominally planned after the successful launches of Astra 1KR and Astra 1L.

RTL takes control of Channel Five

Germany's RTL Group has moved to secure control of Channel Five by agreeing with United Business Media to acquire the outstanding 35.4 per cent shareholding in the channel for £247.6 million. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Digital switchover is 'progressing too slowly'

Despite digital TV penetration looking set to double in western Europe by 2010 – reaching 99.4 million households or 65% of the total – the switchover is taking longer than expected according to a gloomy study by Informa Telecoms & Media. It says switchover in the UK is not likely to be completed until 2015, France, Germany and Spain's 2010 target will slip by nine, six and 10 years respectively, while Italy could miss its 2006 deadline by 14 years.

Setanta and Telewest to bid for soccer rights?

Sky looks likely set to face competition from broadcaster and sports rights holder Setanta for the lucrative English Premier League broadcasting rights when its existing deal expires in 2008. Setanta is reported to have teamed up with Telewest to organise a bid for the Premiership rights.

NBC Europe relaunches entertainment channel

Germany's NBC Europe/Giga channel is to be relaunched as a full entertainment channel by the end of September. The channel is hoping to attract a one per cent audience share over its first year. Once it breaks even, the channel is supposed also to contain originally produced programmes.

Digital TV news in brief...

Sky is readying the launch of two new channels - Sky Two and Sky Three to complement its Sky One service... Sony Entertainment Television Asia's new channel SET Max has launched on Sky channel 826... Ahead of its HDTV launch in 2006, Sky's CEO James Murdoch has said he is "encouraged" by research that indicates up to 10 million flat panel TV sets will be bought by the end of the decade to replace cathode ray tube sets... BT Media and Broadcast and RaceTech, supplier of technical services to the horse racing industry, have signed a new contract that will see BT deliver all of RaceTech's broadcast requirements until 2010... France's DTT service, French Television Numerique pour Tous, has announced that it has sold 500,000 adapters... The Danish Triax group has taken over the multimedia companies in the Hirschmann Group.. Former presidential candidate Al Gore has launched his own channel, Current TV, in the US on cable TV. The channel is aimed at young people between the ages of 18 and 34... Spain's pay-TV giant Sogecable will launch its commercial TV channel, Cuatro, in the Autumn following the Government's approval to the change of the pay-TV Canal Plus into a free-to-air network... Pace has signed deals with DirecTV in the US to supply next generation set-top box products during 2006... Telewest is to put its TV content business Flextech up for sale for at least £800 million according to press reports... Cartoon Network is to launch in Germany in September. It will be available in German on national free to air television on Kabel Eins.

New fight channel to launch on Sky Digital

A new combative sports channel hopes to launch on Sky at the end of January 2006. The channel, called Fight+, says it will air "live fights, documentaries, lifestyle programming and films based around boxing, wrestling, karate, tae kwon do, kung-fu, sumo wresting, jujitsu, kickboxing and other fight-related sports." It will be available for a subscription charge of £3 or £4 per month.

Regards Satdude. :-welcome
 
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@Satdude,

regarding your June 6 post:

"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."

How can I access that website?

lingo
 

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Satellite news 15.08.05

News

Entertainment channel ABC1 to launch on Sky

Disney-owned comedy channel ABC1 is to become available on Sky Digital shortly following its successful debut on Freeview. The channel, which broadcasts from 6am-6pm each day, has already started test transmission on Sky Digital ahead of the launch. These can be watched at 10.862GHz/H (SR 22000, FEC 5/6) under the label "9010" and appear to be only viewable by subscribers to Sky's Family Package.

Sky buys extra satellite capacity for HD channels

Sky has announced a deal with SES Astra to use three extra satellite transponders at 28.2° East. The extra capacity will be used to launch Sky's new High Definition TV service. Richard Freudenstein, Sky’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “The launch of HD is a significant development in broadcasting, offering a step change in quality that will strengthen Sky’s appeal. Sky has enjoyed a long-running and co-operative relationship with Astra. We look forward to extending this relationship into the HD arena as a result of this agreement."

Nat Geo planning to launch HD TV channel

National Geographic is reported to have said that is "almost certain" to launch a HDTV channel when Sky's new HDTV service launches. "We want to be part and parcel of it and are almost certain we will be part of Sky's line-up," said George Jeffrey, managing director of National Geographic Europe. "We are determined to become the national home and vanguard for high-definition for documentaries."

New mature content channel available from September

A new mature content entertainment channel called Faze TV will launch on Sky Digital in September and looks likely to be included in the Sky Family Package. According to various reports, it is currently in talks with Sky about being offered in the Family Pack rather than being a standalone premium channel as was widely expected. Faze TV's schedule of programmes will include films, sport, comedy, music and features about the UK's mature content scene.

Plug pulled on Exchange & Mart TV

The interactive classifieds TV channel Exchange & Mart TV has been removed from the Sky channel line-up after ceasing its broadcasts. Viewers had noticed that the station had substantially cut its programming output in recent weeks in the run-up to the shut-down.

Satellite gremlin causes news feed chaos

A satellite malfunction last Wednesday caused a service blackout for several news wire services transmitting from the UK. A Eutelsat satellite rotated in space, meaning that satellite signals transmitted by its users were not hitting dishes correctly. Subscribers in Europe and Asia who receive the Associated Press news wire by satellite were not able to access the service from 2pm. Services of the Press Association, which uses the same satellite, were also affected. However, both news organisations said most subscribers were able to log onto Internet backup services instead.

New Indian religious channel starts on Sky

The first Indian religious channel to broadcast in the UK has launched this week. Called Aastha TV, it's on Sky Digital channel 828 and is initially available on a free-to-air basis. The station focuses on Indian sciences including yoga, astrology, crystal therapy and aroma therapy. Its schedule of programmes are broadcast in Hindi, Gujarati and English.

ChoicesUK TV joins shopping channels line-up

Sky Digital's roster of shopping channels is to be further extended this week with the launch of a furrther channel dedicated to entertainment products such as DVDs, games and music. ChoicesUK TV is due to launch at noon on August 15 on channel 697 and will include programmes fronted by presenters Paul Ross, Rusty Lee and Anoushka Williams.

Channel Five launches new interactive channel

Channel Five is dipping its toes into multi-channel TV for the first time by giving its daytime quiz show Brainteaser the interactive treatment and launching a channel of its own called YooPlay TV on Sky Digital. It will feature programming between 1pm and 1am and provide interactive games round the clock. Five is teaming up with production outfit YooMedia to launch the station.

ITV backs down in encryption row with Sky

ITV has withdrawn its complaint to media regulator Ofcom about the charges it pays Sky for ensuring satellite viewers receiving the correct ITV1 region. The terrestrial broadcaster had claimed that Sky's proposed charges were "unfair, unreasonable and unduly discriminatory and therefore in breach of Sky's obligations under EU and UK law" when it originally made the complaint late last year. However, it has now withdrawn the complaint after talks on a new contract started with Sky. An ITV spokesperson said: "Negotiations have re-opened with Sky in relation to regionalisation services for ITV1 and as a result ITV has requested that Ofcom suspends investigation of its current complaint pending the outcome of these negotiations. ITV will not hesitate to re-submit the complaint if it judges that Sky's proposed charges for regionalisation services continue to be unfair, unreasonable and discriminatory."

BBC sells programmes to Iraq's TV channel

BBC Worldwide has announced that it has sealed its first deal in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Under a one-year agreement, BBC Worldwide will provide news, current affairs and history programming to the Iraqi commercial broadcaster Al Hurra. No financial details were disclosed, but the BBC is providing 45 hours of programming including the documentaries Ghengis Khan, Auschwitz, Islamic History of Europe and Panorama, This World and Correspondent.

This week's digital TV news in brief...

Sky One has bought the rights to show a new documentary about legendary basketball squad, The Harlem Globetrotters... New disaster drama Lost gave Channel 4 its best ever audience for a US series debut by attracting 6.1m viewers and a 26.8% share... Danish public broadcaster TV2 is set to launch its fourth channel this autumn called TV2 Film which will show movies 24 hours a day... Cartoon Network's new cartoon The Life & Times of Juniper Lee from the award-winning writer of Batman and Superman comics will make its global debut in the UK on August 20... Vodafone has struck a deal with Sky Sports to show live coverage of the Gillette Soccer Saturday programme on customers’ 3G mobile phones... Shares in TiVo fell 6% in the US last week after DirecTV announced it would stop marketing TiVo products this year in favour of its own DVR technology... Controversial Arabic news station al-Jazeera is "in talks" to sign up Sir David Frost, according to The Guardian.

Regards Satdude. :-welcome
 

Satdude

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Satellite news 05.09.05

News

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.

Regards Satdude. :-welcome
 

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Satellite news 13.09.05

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ITV's goes free and launches Freesat service

ITV's digital channels will start broadcasting "in the clear" during the next few months. As part of the new inititative, ITV and the BBC are to launch a free digital satellite service in a long-anticipated move to take on Sky. The broadcasters said today they were working together to develop a Freesat service that would "complement" Freeview. Freesat will be aimed at the 25 per cent of UK households that cannot receive Freeview. It is aiming to launch in the first half of next year and will compete with Sky's own Freesat service, which launched in October offering 120 TV channels and 80 radio stations for a one-off installation charge of £150.

Virgin Radio to launch new TV channel

SMG, the owner of Virgin Radio, has announced that it is considering the launch of a national digital TV channel. The company already owns radio, cinema and outdoor advertising outlets, with TV being the only medium where it lacks national coverage. Andrew Flanagan, SMG's chief executive, said plans were being drawn up to plug that gap: "I would like to have a national channel sat alongside my other national businesses. We are comfortable with our position in each of our marketplaces but I would like to protect our position in TV." A City analyst added that a Virgin-branded TV channel would be the most obvious choice if SMG were allowed to extend the brand by its ultimate owner, Sir Richard Branson.

Al Jazeera to launch new children's channel

Al Jazeera is launching a pan-Arabic, free-to-air children's channel with plans to distribute it to the UK, Europe and the Arab world. Al Jazeera Children's Channel will broadcast 18 hours of programming on weekdays and 19.5 hours at weekends. The channel will broadcast a daily debate magazine show, an educational game show, weekly sports and news magazines, as well as monthly science, health, multimedia and current affairs programmes. European-acquired programming will be dubbed into Arabic. Also, a UK version of US-based Muslim television channel Bridges TV is set to launch on Sky, featuring Islamic equivalents of programmes such as 'Sesame Street'. It will launch by the end of the year.

New religious channel to launch on Sky

A new Christian TV channel says it will launch on Sky Digital later this month. Called Gospel Channel Europe, the station intends to launch on September 26, and will provide talks shows, Gospel music and programs from international TV ministries.

New big-name presenters join Sky News

Sky News has announced that two well-known faces are joining the channel as part of its new-look presenting line-up. Former US State Department Spokesman James Rubin and BBC News presenter Gillian Joseph are joinining the 24-hour news station in time for the start of its new programming schedule and fresh on air look, which is expected to debut during the next few weeks. James Rubin will anchor Sky News' international new show, World News Tonight with James Rubin, to be broadcast from 8pm-9pm each week day. And Gillian Joseph, currently a presenter on BBC Breakfast and BBC London, will join the channel to anchor its evening output from 9pm-12am alongside Sky News' Chris Roberts.

Sky renews four transponders at 28.2° East

Satellite company Astra has signed a major long term renewal agreement with Sky on four of its 28.2° East transponders. Richard Freudenstein, Sky’s Chief Operating Officer, said: "We are pleased to have agreed this extension to our long-running and co-operative relationship with Astra and we look forward to further broadcasting innovation when we start delivering a High-Definition television service from next year."

mature content entertainment channel cancels launch

mature content entertainment channel Faze TV will not be launching on Sky after all, according to an announcement from the station. Faze was due to become the UK's first entertainment mature content channel and go on air later in September, but in an email sent to interested viewers, the broadcaster said a license to launch the channel on Sky was refused. The statement said: "Despite an exhausting last eight months working to secure funding and an agreement with Sky for the channel, we have been forced this week to admit defeat. We heard last Wednesday that Sky would not offer a licence fee for the channel which would have enabled us to launch. We needed at least some payment from Sky, as advertising revenue alone will not generate enough income to pay for a programming budget of sufficient quality and we could not secure funding for a subscription channel. We really wanted to deliver the quality channel which you deserve reflecting the lives and interests of mature content men today in the UK. Anything less would be a mistake, and this is why with considerable sadness we have decided not to go ahead."

New time-shifted FX channel launches on Sky

A two-hour delayed version of entertainment channel FX UK has launched on the Sky Digital EPG. FX+2 on channel 271 shows the schedule of FX two hours behind the existing output and carries identical programming and advertising.

TV ratings company to start tracking Sky+ users

TV audience research organisation BARB is employing new technology to allow them to measure audiences for programmes captured using the Sky+ receiver for the first time. Previously, measuring viewing figures of played back programming on Sky+ was not possible, but after a long period of development, the new reporting system will be activated in stages this month to close a major gap in the company's TV research. Sky has developed a means of extracting Service Information codes to identify the stored content from the hard disc PVR and output these so that a BARB meter can identify them.

Sky One commissions new Hollywood doc

Sky One has commissioned production company September Films to make a feature-length documentary narrated by Richard E Grant that will reveal on- and off-screen stories behind the Hollywood vices of s_x, violence, drugs and excess.

News in brief...

Teletext has confirmed it is axing up to 70 posts from its sport, racing and finance departments or nearly half of its entire editorial team... All of the UK main terrestrial networks have signed up for the Oxford mobile TV trial that starts later this month, adding to the Sky, Discovery and Turner networks that are already onboard... Birmingham based Raj TV has commenced full testing ahead of its official launch on Sky Digital later this month... Several channels were removed from the Sky line-up this week, including You TV3 (180) and the Sky Box Office channels from 753 to 761... Action!241 has replaced the Soundtrack Channel on Sky channel 241.

Regards Satdude. :-welcome
 

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Satellite news 20.09.05

News

Sky and ITV sign joint football rights deal

ITV and Sky have signed a new three-year deal to continue sharing UK TV rights to the UEFA Champions League football competition The new contract with UEFA will see ITV continuing to broadcast two live matches on Tuesday nights from September 2006 to May 2009 The Sky Sports channels will carry on transmitting the remaining six Tuesday Champions League fixtures, plus all eight Wednesday night matches via its interactive service Also, for the first time, ITV and Sky Sports will provide live internet streaming of the Champions League matches they are televising

Sky boss 'uncomfortable' with switch-off

Sky CEO James Murdoch has said he is "uncomfortable" with Tessa Jowell's plans to switch off the analogue signal by 2012 His admission came during a speech at the Cambridge Convention and came after the culture secretary's confirmation of the timetable for the analogue TV shutdown (see seperate story below) Murdoch told delegates: "We're uncomfortable with the element of compulsion in the whole programme Our view is that compulsory switch-over is something that presents issues for customers, not just the vulnerable, but families and viewers around the country It's an ultimatum You take away the choice for someone to say, 'Actually, I don't want to give £150 for this'"

Analogue TV switch-off schedule revealed

Switch-off of analogue TV signals will begin in the North of England in 2008, extending to Wales and Manchester in 2009 and will be carried out on a region-by-region basis culminating in London in 2012 Speaking at the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention, culture secretary Tessa Jowell said the move would bring more choice to viewers "Digital television is no longer a probability, it is a certainty, and I believe it can leave us with a legacy of more choice, for more people, than anywhere else in the world," she said

Penthouse to launch European adult channels

Adult magazine Penthouse is taking on archrival Playboy in the TV stakes after raising $48m in the US to fund the global launch of its own TV and video-on-demand networks It says it intends to compete directly with the Playboy Network and Playboy-owned Spice TV "Over the next several years it is anticipated that Penthouse-branded products will be available in VoD to 100% of the North American market with further extension internationally – launching in Latin America, Europe and Asia," the company said in a statement

New Christmas shopping TV channel launches

A festive themed shopping channel called Christmas Shop has launched on Sky Digital channel 699 It offers christmas decorations and items related to the season Christmas Shop is owned by One TV, which also has a seperate network on Sky channel 670

ITV to launch two new digital TV channels

ITV is planning to launch a further two digital TV channels in 2006, according to press reports It hopes to launch channels in the shopping and gaming market ITV chief exec Charles Allen said: "We are looking at transactional revenues through ITV Play and shopping"

Two new Asian channels join Sky Digital line-up

Asian channels Apna Bazaar and Birmingham Raj TV have launched on Sky Digital Shopping station Apna Bazaar is showing studio-based shopping programming in Hindi, Urdu and English on Sky Digital channel 829 Meanwhile, entertainment channel Raj TV broadcasts from Birmingham and is available on Sky channel 283 It specialises in home-produced music, film and entertainment programmes

Digital TV now in 157 million UK homes

Ofcom's latest figures for the second quarter of 2005 show digital TV penetration reached 63 per cent of households, up from 619 per cent during the previous quarter The total number of digital TV households grew by almost 298,000 to 15,715,178 Sky added 75,000 subscribers to bring its total number of UK subscribers to 7,424,000 at the end of quarter two There were over 700,000 sales of Freeview set-top boxes and iDTVs by the end of the quarter with Ofcom estimating Freeview is in 5,178,000 homes - up by over 118,000 homes during the quarter

Sky to offer live TV channels on mobile phones

Sky has confirmed it will offer a selection of live TV channels via mobile phones Chief operating officer Richard Freudenstein said the venture would allow viewers to watch sports, news and entertainment "within months," and will be paid for by monthly subscriptions Sky says it will be the first company to offer live channels "You can be out and about and on the road and you will be able to use your mobile wherever you are The world is changing and consumers are using media very differently," said Freudenstein

ITV boss casts doubt on Flextech sale

Charles Allen, ITV's CEO, has expressed his scepticism over the sale of Flextech, Telewest’s content business for which ITV submitted an indicative offer He said: "I'm not convinced that they are actually going to sell the asset and that it's an elaborate valuation exercise" The comments came as ITV was reported to have failed to make it through to the second round of bidding in the £1bn auction Sky is understood to be the frontrunner in the race with German broadcaster RTL, which owns Five, also thought to be in the running

Sky One signs up new original documentaries

Sky One's series of original documentaries has been extended with the commission of new opinion programmes by Ross Kemp and Francis Fulford about Viagra and cocaine Former EastEnder Kemp will be presenting a 60-minute programme about London gangs in Ross Kemp on Gangs: London to air in October, while Fulford, who is already making Why Britain is F**ked for Sky One, has now been greenlit to make Francis Fulford Versus America, both of which will be shown in November

Digital TV news in brief

Games channel Jackpot TV on Sky Digital channel 275 failed to start broadcasting as per its usual schedule on Monday and was broadcasting a test card throughout the day Radio channel Big Blue has been removed from Sky channel 898 Ofcom is proposing UK broadcasters who win the rights to broadcast live Premier League football could be forced to sell some games to rivals The plans, if adopted by the European Commission, would end the 13-year monopoly of Sky BBC Broadcast has won a seven year contract to play out all Flextech channels - LivingTV, Bravo, Challenge, Trouble, FTN, LivingTV2 and four time shift channels The BBC has won highlights of the ICC Cricket World Cup, to be held in the West Indies in March and April 2007 Europe saw a record number of new TV channels launched in over the 2003/04 period with adult entertainment channels the strongest growing genre, according to a new report

New Olympics sports programme for UKTV G2

UKTV has commissioned a new weekly sports programme that will promote the 2012 Olympics and try to inspire future medallists The 90-minute episodes of UKTV Sport will air on the UKTV G2 network at 1830 on Saturdays from October 14

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Satellite news 26.09.05

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Sky Three to launch on Freview in October

Sky is to launch its first free-to-air entertainment channel on Freeview's digital terrestrial service next month. The Sky Travel channel will be replaced on Freeview by 'Sky Three' and will show programmes already seen on Sky One alongside original travel and lifestyle shows. At the same time, the existing Sky Mix channel will be renamed Sky Two. Early schedule highlights will include the first free-to-view broadcast of the third series of US drama 24. Sky Networks managing director Dawn Airey said the Freeview move would help Sky to "reach an even wider audience". She added: "Sky Three will offer digital terrestrial viewers the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of popular programmes from Sky." Other Sky One shows to transfer to Sky Three will include US crime drama Cold Case and hypnotist Paul McKenna's series I Can Change Your Life. The news came just hours after ITV's new digital channel for men, ITV4, unveiled its programme line-up ahead of its launch on 1 November. Channel 4 made its digital channel E4 available on Freeview in May this year.

Mobile phone TV trial starts this week

A trial service that allows live TV pictures to be watched via mobile phones is set to launch this week. Four hundred O2 subscribers in the Oxford area will be among the first to take part in the six month trial, which is being run by O2, Nokia and the broadcast company Arqiva. Subscribers with Nokia 7710 handsets will be able to choose programmes via on-screen menus, as well as receiving alerts when programmes are about to begin.

New phone rules issued to quiz TV channels

Phone regulator ICSTIS has launches its consultation on the introduction of new rules and a prior permission regime for premium rate quiz TV channels following a jump in the number of quiz channels and an increase in the number of complaints it has received. The new rules mean that those wanting to run premium rate competitions on TV quiz channels will need to come to ICSTIS before running a service and get the regulator’s prior permission. The new rules stress the need for clear pricing, an adequate explanation of how the service will operate and clear terms and conditions, a cost warning after spending £20, substantiation of certain aspects of the operation of the service – especially the need for there to be a single correct answer which must be available to ICSTIS to inspect should complaints arise.

New channel ITV4 unveils programme schedule

ITV4, the soon-to-launch male-targeted digital TV channel, will start on November 1 with a slew of US programes, it was announced this week. The new series of Kojak, which airs on USA Network in the US, sees Ving Rhames (of Mission Impossible fame) reprise the role made famous by Telly Savalas. Also exclusive to ITV4 is action drama Wanted, which features an elite team of crime fighters who form an undercover strike force to help track down Los Angeles' most wanted fugitives. ITV4 will also premier Traffic: The Mini Series, based on the Oscar-winning feature film, which offers an inside track on the world of gun, drug and human trafficking in all its forms. Aiming to be 'Britain's biggest and best men's channel,' ITV4 will air daily from 6pm to 6am and will also show Champion's League soccer, live boxing and feature films. It will also air The Late Show With David Letterman.

... and More4 announces its programme line-up

Channel 4 has confirmed details of the launch lineup of its soon-to-launch digital TV channel More4, which debuts on October 10. More4 News will air each weekday at 8pm and will feature the most important news stories of the day plus own breaking news coverage. A short update will go out just before 6pm. Following at 8.30pm will be The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, broadcast on a one day delay. Talk show The Last Word will air on weeknights at 11pm. Entertainment shows will include The Sopranos, which will air weeknights at 11.50pm and ER, which will be on air weekdays at 6pm. The station will also broadcast films each weekday at around 4pm.

Sky boss calls for relaxation of EU regulations

Sky chief executive James Murdoch has followed up on the BBC's call for a regulation-free Internet with a plea to scrap European media regulations in a "bonfire of controls". Murdoch said that pan-European broadcast rules, currently being updated, should be swept away. It comes as Brussels regulators currently investigate Sky's exclusive Premier League football contract, which is up for renewal in 2007. "This is not a plea for freedom without restraint. I take as my starting point the requirement that broadcasters, like anyone else, should be bound by laws on decency, the protection of minors, human dignity and so on," he said at a conference this week. "Beyond that, however, broadcasting should no longer be regarded as a special case. The purpose of broadcasting regulation should be to ensure competition through freedom in pricing, through secure and transferable property rights, and through the removal of genuine barriers to market entry." The comments came after BBC director general Mark Thompson warned European legislators not to extend TV-style regulation to content delivered via new platforms such as the Web.

Telenor announces replacement for THOR II

Norwegian satellite operator Telenor has announced a deal for the delivery of a new satellite. The spacecraft, THOR II-R, will serve as a replacement satellite for THOR II, which will be retired from service in 2008. The new craft will provide Ku-band telecommunications and TV channels from 1° West. The new craft will have 24 transponders with three times more payload power (3.6 kilowatts payload power) compared to THOR II.

Pace issues second profits warning

Set-top box maker Pace Micro Technology has issued its second profit warning within a fortnight, announcing that profits could fall by 25% this year following falling orders for its digital TV receivers. It stated that profits before tax and exceptional items were "unlikely" to exceed the £9.1m posted last year. Analysts had been expecting profits of between £10m and £12m. John Dyson, the chief executive of Pace, declined to name the customers involved but said a combination of changes in the timing and specification of orders, and last-minute alterations to some of the products being manufactured by the company, had forced it to issue a warning.

Digital TV news in brief...

On Sky Digital, Raj TV has started on channel 283... Apna Bazaar has launched on Sky channel 829... Vectone Punjab on Sky channel 814 is now called Vectone Chnl-I... BBC Director General Mark Thompson has demanded an explanation after Sky News rather than BBC News 24 was featured in an episode of Spooks... Sky has apologised to its call-centre workers for an "unfortunate incident" after employees received a note telling them to limit their toilet breaks to eight minutes a day... Mark Wood, Sky's long-serving commercial director, is leaving his post as part of the restructure of Sky's Media Sales division... New religious channel Gospel Channel Europe is due to launch on September 26 on Sky Digital.

Carol Vorderman to host Sudoko TV show

Carol Vorderman is to host a new interactive Sky One primetime show based around the sudoko phenomenon. Two teams will compete to fill in a sudoko board by solving a series of mind-bending games. Each of the team captains will be a celebrity, with Jo Brand reportedly being lined up to take part as a captain. Recording of the series is believed to be starting in November and transmission will go ahead during the winter.

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Satellite news 03.10.05

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Premier League calls MPs to fight EU plans

The Premier League is calling on MPs to criticise the "unfair" investigation by Brussels into the way it sells TV rights. In the process it has admitted that the Commission wants one broadcaster to buy no more than 50 per cent of the football matches being auctioned. Sky has won exclusive live TV rights to the Premiership ever since the league's launch in 1992, but the Commission has ruled that the sale process is anti-competitive. Richard Scudamore, CEO of the Premier League, has warned MPs that a quota could create a duopoly and depress the value of top-flight TV rights. Scudamore says: "Our fear is that a rule that prevents any broadcaster from buying more than half of the available games would reduce competition - each company would know the biggest bidder was limited to half the market and could, therefore, avoid having to outbid them in an open market. The situation could be even worse if the market condensed into two main bidders: a duopoly that could harm the game and consumers alike."

Phone price hike at TV auction channels

The cost of making a telephone bid for items featured on several digital TV shopping channels has risen sharply this week. Broadcaster Sit-up.tv has confirmed that bid.tv, speed-auction.tv and price-drop tv now charge shoppers £1.50 per call, up from £1 per call.

Launch date for Sky Three is announced

Sky's soon-to-launch entertainment channel, Sky Three, will debut on Monday October 31 at 5pm. The broadcaster also confirmed that the channel will offer a mixed schedule of programmes from Sky One as well as original lifestyle commissions and travel documentaries from Sky Travel.

Freeview planning to shuffle its channel line-up

A major reshuffle of Freeview's Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) is being planned for October 18 to accomodate new channel launches and re-organise the stations by genre. The radio stations look likely to move to positions 700+, pushing the interactive streams to 300+, while kids channels will move to 70-79 and news channels will be between 80 and 89. The adult channels are tipped to move to 97 and 98, while teletext and other interactive services will occupy 100+.

Sky Gnome price and details are announced

Sky has announced that Sky Gnome, its wireless digital receiver system, that will allow Sky subscribers to listen to radio or TV anywhere around the house, will cost £69.99. It will come in a choice of 'Cool Blue' or 'Funky Orange' colours and will be available from mid-October direct from Sky.

Car maker launches its own Sky Digital channel

Car manufacturer Audi has launched its own channel on Sky Digital channel 259 in the former slot of Unlimited TV, which has ceased broadcasting. The Audi Channel broadcasts free-to-air.

Sky One commissions new celebrity series

Sky One has commissioned a five-part series about celebrities who have died from excessive lifestyles. Oxford Scientific Films has been asked by Sky One commissioning editor Emma Read to produce Death By Excess, a five part series of 60 minute episodes. The series is billed as "a forensic journey into the physiological and biochemical changes that take place in human organs when people party to the extreme." The deaths of Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and River Phoenix will be among those featured.

30,000 applicants sign up for BBC's iMP trial

The BBC has received 30,000 applications following its call for volunteers to join the second phase of its iMP (integrated Media Player) trial, which has just started rolling out to volunteers. 5,000 have been chosen to participate in trailing the player, which offers catch up TV and radio through the Internet for seven days after the original broadcast. iMP volunteers have been chosen as a representative sample of the UK. The BBC will be monitoring the volunteers' viewing habits and recording their views on iMP until the end of the year. The purpose of the trial will be to gauge the public interest in iMP as well as to evaluate the public value of such a service, and any potential market impact.

More 4 starts promo trailers on Freeview channel

More 4, the soon-to-launch entertainment channel from Channel Four, has started showing a promotional trailer highlighting forthcoming shows on the station. It can be seen on Freeview channel 35 in Wales and 13 in the rest of the UK. Channel 4 is launching the station on October 10.

Downtown Superstore TV launches on Sky

A new shopping and entertainment channel has joined the Sky Digital line-up on channel 640. Called Downtown Superstore TV, it is a joint venture between Simply Media and Grantham-based superstore Downtown. It claims to be the first shopping channel to broadcast live from inside a store and will offer furniture, homeware, cosmetics, fashion, gardening tools, hardware and sportswear. A statement from the channel added that it would "offer a range of popular programming formats such as reality TV, gaming, chat shows and ‘shop opera’ to make it more than just a shopping medium, but an all-round entertainment channel."

Baby Channel starts Sky test transmissions

The Baby Channel has started test transmissions on Sky Digital ahead of the launch of its station. Tests can be viewed at 11.307GHz/V (SR 27500 and FEC 2/3) under the label of 53310. The channel is set to launch on Monday October 10 with shopping and information programmes.

New look for Sky's interactive support facility

Sky has revamped its interactive customer service area. The new-look section is called 'My Sky' and lets viewers access their Sky statement, read FAQs about common problems, subscribe to the Sky credit card and read about upgrades. "My Sky is a quick and convenient way for our customers to manage their Sky account," said Ian Shepherd, MD of Sky Interactive. "It's an alternative to picking up the telephone and another way for customers to communicate with us."

Digital TV news in brief...

Quiz Call has launched on Sky channel 284... The Audi Channel replaces Unlimited TV on Sky channel 259... Information TV has replaced Sound TV in the Sky Digital line-up on channel 277... The Gospel Channel has launched, as expected, on Sky channel 681... ITV chief executive Charles Allen could net over £1.5m after he was handed new share options last week... Jetix UK has launched a free-to-play games service on Telewest's digital TV service which allows kids to watch TV and play games at the same time... Despite some press reports that Telewest is ready to cancel the sale of Flextech, others claim the sale process is ready to move to stage two with shortlisted companies soon to meet with BBC Worldwide which, as joint owner with Flextech of UKTV, will have a say in any sale... Sky Sports has signed a deal to become the new sponsors of the Victory Shield schoolboy international tournament... Spain's Tele 5 is to launch two DTT channels before the end of November. One, Telecinco Sport, will be dedicated to sports and the other, Telecinco Estrellas, will be dedicated to fiction... Spain's government is to impose new limits on the ownership of private TV channels in that country aimed at guaranteeing free competition.

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Satellite news 10.10.05

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Sky and Disney in cash wrangle over TV carriage

A ten-year-old deal to carry the Disney Channel on Sky Digital has expired without a long-term agreement being agreed for the continued transmission of Disney's digital TV channels. The two broadcasters are reported to be haggling over a new contract and Sky has agreed to roll over the existing deal while the talks to continue. If the negotiations were to break down, Disney could be forced off Sky, although many industry experts think this is unlikely. The original agreement, signed in 1994, is one of the most expensive channel-supply agreements ever negotiated by Sky.

Channel 4's new More 4 channel launches

A new entertainment TV channel from Channel 4, More4, is set to launch on Monday October 10 at 8pm. It will launch on Freeview Channel 13, Sky Digital channel 165, NTL on channel 166 and Telewest on channel 142. A highlight of the first night's schedule will be a comedy drama about David Blunkett. A time-shifted version of the channel called More4 + is scheduled to start on October 17.

The Baby Channel launches on Sky this week

The Baby Channel launches on Monday October 10 on Sky Digital channel number 285. It will broadcast programmes aimed at pregnant women, expectant fathers and parents of pre-school children aged 0-5 years old. The free-to-air station will also be webcast on the Internet at ***.babychanneltv.com. It will be on the air every day from 6.00am - 8.00pm, with the channel's flagship programme Baby Talk starting at 8.00am. Programmes have made with medical and parenting organisations including the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the National Childbirth Trust and St John Ambulance.

Sky's boss earned £2.17 million in 2004

Sky's annual report for 2005 reveals that James Murdoch, the chief executive of Sky, was paid £2.17m before pension contributions last year. The total included a £750,000 salary and a £1.2m bonus for surpassing performance targets. The package compares with £1.5m for eight months in the previous year. Murdoch was also awarded 450,000 free shares worth £2.4m, which he can sell from August 2007 if Sky's shares outperform the FTSE 100.

Sky Three unveils its programme schedule

Sky has announced the schedule of programming for its new general entertainment channel Sky Three. The free-to-air channel will launch on Sky Digital and Freeview on October 31 and will broadcast travel shows Airline, Undercover Customs and Far Flung Floyd, plus lifestyle programmes Search of Style, House Sitters and The Filth Files plus the daily magazine show Braniac: Science Abuse. Sky News' 5pm bulletin will simulcast on Sky Three, and in the evening there will be 24 season three, Jake 2.0, Tru Calling and Oliver Beene.

New-look Sky News will debut on October 24

Sky News will begin broadcasting from new look studios on Monday October 24, launching at 6am with Sunrise, anchored by Lorna Dunkley and former GMTV frontman Eamonn Holmes. It will launch a new on-air schedule built by fixed shows tied to specific presenters including Jeremy Thompson, Julie Etchingham, Martin Stanford, Adam Boulton and Kay Burley, who will all have their own shows. Sky News is also switching to a widescreen format.

Premier League and EU to meet over TV dispute

The Premier League and European Commission will reportedly hold last minute talks this week to try to resolve their dispute over broadcasting rights for live football games, as reported by Wotsat.com last week. However, with both sides sticking to their guns, the chances of a costly, drawn-out legal battle are high. A stand-off could threaten the league's tight timetable for agreeing with the 20 clubs the 138 games to be broadcast live during the 2007-8 season. The EC said it will soon issue a "statement of objections" to the league's "inadequate" proposals for allowing more than one broadcaster to show live games.

ITV Kids Channel to launch in February 2006

ITV's new childrens channel is set to go on air next February, it has been confirmed by the broadcaster. The channel will launch on February 11 and will show drama, entertainment, animation, factual and pre-school material.

Cable giant NTL takes over Telewest for £3.4bn

NTL has finally agreed to buy smaller rival Telewest for about £3.4bn after a long-running takeover. When combined, they will have TV, phone and broadband Internet customers in about five million UK households compared with eight million for rival Sky. The combined company will also be the second-largest residential telephone company behind BT. NTL and Telewest said they expect the deal to close in the first quarter of 2006 following approval by regulators and both companies' shareholders.

NTL is ready to compete with Sky on football

Cable giant NTL is planning a bid to undercut Sky by offering Premiership football subscription packages for as little as £10 a month, according to press reports. The company is planning to offer an estimated £200m a year for Premiership rights if the European Commission rules that no single broadcaster can bid for more than 50% of the games. In 2003, Sky paid £1.02bn for an exclusive three-year deal to show all live Premiership games. But Simon Duffy, NTL's CEO, said Sky had underpaid for football rights and a fairer auction would generate more cash for clubs. A bid from NTL depends on the EC being successful in restructuring the auction's rules (see story above).

Sir David Frost joins Al Jazeera's new channel

Sir David Frost, the only person to have interviewed the last seven Presidents of the United States and the last six Prime Ministers of the UK, has joined the line-up of presenters at the new 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, Al Jazeera International. In a statement, Managing Director Nigel Parsons said: "We are thrilled to have Sir David Frost join Al Jazeera International. He's a one-man international broadcasting phenomenon and our viewers can look forward to the substance and quality that has marked his distinguished career."

Regulation to be kept minimal for Web TV

Culture secretary Tessa Jowell believes new "light touch" regulation should be introduced to govern TV via new media. "We know we need new regulations to reflect the fact that TV services are now being delivered via the net and mobile phones. But we don't want to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, as regulation of these platforms will have an enormous impact on how they develop," she told an industry conference.

News in brief...

The Express Shopping Channel has closed down on Sky Digital and a new teleshopping channel called Pitch TV has moved onto channel 636... UKTV has rubbished reports that it is preparing the launch of its own sports channel... It's has been revealed the BBC paid $375,000 to buy the bbc.com domain name from a US firm, Boston Business Computing. The BBC still does not use the domain other than to redirect visitors to its main bbc.co.uk site... The Racing Post newspaper has signed a deal to become the sole broadcast sponsor of the Poker Channel's The World Speed Poker Open... Kids channel CBBC has commissioned a drama documentary on the July 7 London terrorist bombings as seen through the eyes of a child.

Survey: '10 per cent won't have digital by 2012'

Around 10 per cent of UK homes will not have digital TV sets by 2012, when analogue signals will be switched off. That's the conclusion of a new report, commissioned by Ofcom, which states that around 2.3 million homes will not have changed to digital TV by the switchover. Although a high figure, it is half the number predicted by a similar study two years ago.

Sky One show criticised for airing bomb scene

Sky One has been criticised by TV regulator Ofcom for airing an episode of Brainiac: History Abuse in which a caravan was shown being blown up just days after the London tube bombings. A viewer had complained to the regulator that the programme contained details of the names of substances that could be used to make bombs and in view of the events in London on July 7, this was 'inappropriate and offensive.' Sky explained that after any significant event it reviews its schedules to ensure that ‘sensitive’ material is removed, however the episode still aired in this case. Subsequently, having reviewed the programme, the editorial team believed that the tone of the voiceover accompanying the caravan item had been inappropriate in the circumstances. Sky said that it had changed its procedures as a result of the incident. Ofcom said: "We agree that the programme’s scheduling so close to the events of July 7 was ill-judged given the tone of the voiceover accompanying the exploding caravan item. We welcome Sky’s explanation and, in view of the measures it has subsequently put in place, we consider the matter resolved."

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Satellite news 20.10.05

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BBC wants hike in licence fee to pay for digital

The BBC has asked for a new license fee increase of inflation plus 2.3% which it says reflects the expense of the switch to digital. The government has said it expects the licence fee to cover converting the disadvantaged, but the BBC expects most to pay ‘a modest fee' in addition to the licence, and its new fee claim does not include funding any subsidy. When questioned on whether the funding of the switchover might end up being separated from the licence fee deal, Chairman Michael Grade said: "That will be a discussion that will be had over the next three months, if we can't pin the numbers down."

Premier League TV rights deal is on the cards

The Premier League is getting closer to agreeing terms with the European Commission about the sale of football rights - and it now looks likely that Sky's 13-year monopoly will end next year. The Premier League has reportedly agreed to stick by its December 2003 agreement to share the next round of TV rights. It has been reported, however, that the proposed 50% cap on the number of live matches shown by a single broadcaster is to be increased to 80% because the 138 games will be separated into five batches, with no one broadcaster able to own more than four. Sky is most likely to win four out of the five packages with the BBC, Five, ITV, NTL and Irish broadcaster Setanta Sports bidding for the remaining bundle

ITV4 unveils feast of sport for launch schedule

ITV4 will launch on November 1 with live coverage of the UEFA Champions League clash between Chelsea and Real Betis. The new channel will then become the home of ITV's second Champions League match on Tuesdays, through to the semi-final. ITV4 will also broadcast live coverage, on November 5, of the UK's Olympic boxing sensation Amir Khan

Sky to buy broadband Internet provider?

Shares in Easynet, a broadband Internet services provider, rose sharply after reports that Sky was poised to announce a takeover offer of about £150million. It comes after Sky announced last week that it aims to go on an acquisition spree after raising £1bn in a bonds issue

Unilver buys whole of ITV4's first advert break

Household consumables manufacturer Unilever has bought the entire first advert break on ITV4's launch night, 50 years after the inaugural ad break it booked on ITV's debut night. ITV4 is to debut on November 1 with Unilever brands including Lynx body spray, Sure for Men and Marmite. As well as Unilever products securing the first ads on ITV's launch in 1955 with Gibbs SR toothpaste, the company also bought the first ad break on ITV3's launch night. Advertisers are increasingly keen to get involved with launch night deals - French car manufacturer Renault booked the whole of the first ad break on Channel 4's new More4 channel last week

November start for new shopping channel

A new shopping channel is set to launch on Sky Digital in November. Called Treasures TV, it is set to debut on November 21, and will offer collectables, antiques and memorabilia. It will be on air from 9am to midnight each day

New movies channel set for 2006 debut on Sky

A new movie channel is set to launch on Sky Digital next February. To be called 'Inside Movies', it will provide features and information about cinema hits including listings, previews and behind the scenes footage from films. Viewers will also be able to access information about new releases through an interactive service. The 24-hour channel will be on air seven days a week

Time-shifted More4 channel goes on air

A time-shifted version of Channel 4's brand new entertainment channel has launch on Sky Digital in the Entertainment section. Called More4+1, it is available on channel 286

Digital TV news in brief...

BBC 6 Music has been named Best Radio Station at the 2005 BT Digital Music Awards... Sky Box Office Events has moved to Sky channel 755 from channel 770... Soon-to-launch TV channel Legal TV has postponed its launch on Sky Digital from October to until January 2006... On Sky channel 247, Classics TV has been replaced by DoveVision TV... Ofcom has proposed to expand UK digital radio by releasing DAB spectrum for up to 10 new national stations, as well as to fill gaps in local coverage... E! Networks has announced the further expansion of its UK presence with its launch in NTL's digital TV Family Package... ITV is planning to launch to a new advertiser initiative that will allow viewers to use their mobile phones to interact with commercials...

New faces join Sky News reporting team

Former MP Oona King and Rachel Whetstone are to join Sky News as special correspondents for the channel's new 7pm show, which is set to start next week. Former Labour MP King, who was ousted by George Galloway in the recent election, and Whetstone, Michael Howard's former political secretary, will appear most Fridays on The Sky Report, to be anchored by Julie Etchingham

Channel 4 takes stake in Freeview consortium

Channel 4 is to take a stake in Freeview by joining the consortium of Crown Castle, Sky and the BBC that owns the free-to-air digital TV service. The partners are planning to market the Freeview box more aggressively

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Satellite news 25.10.05

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Sky Sports likely to buy 80% of football rights

Sky is to be allowed to buy the rights of more than 80% of Premier League football games, in a move that will delight the broadcaster and leave its competitors smarting. The European Commission, which is currently in talks with broadcasters about the forthcoming rights auction, has reportedly agreed that Premier League rights will be divided into six packages. Each package will comprise 23 games with no bidder allowed to buy all the packages. However, in theory, this will enable Sky to buy five of the six packages or 83% of the games, especially as the broadcaster is likely to outbid its rivals. Sky could be set to scoop five out of six packages, with the BBC, Five, ITV, NTL and Setanta Sports bidding for the remainder.

Sky Travel buys TV rights to Miss World contest

Sky Travel is to screen this year's Miss World contest in a special programme on Saturday December 10. The event was screened by ITV1 in an off-peak slot last year but it decided not to bid for the rights this year, citing ethical reasons as well as ratings for its decision.

BBC Three scraps nightly 7pm news bulletin

BBC Three has been given the go-ahead to discontinue its nightly 7 O'Clock News programme from December 2. Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, approved the change, which the BBC said would help the channel "increase value for money." The channel's 60-second news bulletins will continue. The decision comes after the publication of the Barwise Report last year and the BBC's own audience research, which showed the audience's news needs were being met in other ways.

Sky News gets makeover and new schedule

Sky News launched a brand new studio, logo and a revamp of its programme schedule on Monday October 24. It says that it will break more exclusive stories and challenge the traditional ITV and BBC evening news bulletins. Its new presenters, former GMTV host Eamonn Holmes, and James Rubin, the former chief US foreign affairs spokesman, have both appeared on the channel for the first time.

Multi-lingual interactive first for BBC One

A BBC One Real Story special on volunteer doctors from Britain trying to save lives in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in south-Asia will be broadcast simultaneously in the English language and Urdu via the red button interactive service. The programme, to be aired on October 26 at 7.30pm, will be broadcast in English but will be available at the same time in Urdu to all digital viewers. The Urdu language version is aimed at Britain's Pakistani and also other South Asian communities who might have a particular interest in the programme.

BBC Three commissions new shopping series

A third series of Spendaholics has been commissioned by BBC Three. The show features out-of-control shoppers who are separated from their credit cards and given ways to mend their extravagant ways. Filming of the six-part series will commence in November and the new series is tipped to be on air next spring.

Digital TV news in brief...

More4 +1 has started on Sky channel 286... The Community Channel has commissioned another series of interviews hosted by Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow... Channel 4 has reportedly approached Sky News about the possibility of the news channel providing news content for its news bulletins... Spanish private TV station Antena 3 TV has beaten the state-owned channel TVE in the fight for the free-to-air rights to the UEFA champions League for the period 2006-2009.... Zip TV, an interactive TV advertising group is looking to launch its own channel on Sky after being awarded an Ofcom licence.

Sky buys Easynet broadband Internet provider

Sky has brought an end to weeks of speculation by confirming that it is moving into broadband with the £211m acquisition of network operator Easynet. The boards of both companies approved the deal, which, if accepted by shareholders, marks one of the most significant developments in Sky's history and a change in competition within the UK media sector. Sky's total offer for Easynet is 175p per share, valuing the company at £211m.

Regards Satdude. :-welcome
 

Satdude

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Satellite news 07.11.05

News

New free-to-air sports channel for Sky

A new free-to-air channel has begun test transmissions on Sky Digital. Called Sport Nation, the channel is testing at 11.390GHz/H under the identity '52416'. It is showing classic sporting moments and studio discussion about popular sports which get little coverage.

Playboy to launch new daytime channel

Playboy TV is to start a new entertainment channel broadcasting during daytime hours. Playboy One will be on air from mid-day each day, with a preview showing during the morning. Much of the content appears to consist of urban pop videos from Trace TV, though this may change on launch. The channel has been testing at 11.390GHz/V under the identity '53597'.

Homechoice to expand to nationwide coverage

Video Networks Ltd (VNL), the operator of Homechoice, the TV and Internet service, has announced plans for its national roll-out. Starting in 2006, it says a network expansion will more than quadruple Homechoice's coverage to over 10 million homes. It will extend Homechoice's market across the greater London area and into major cities and conurbations across the UK. It will also give Homechoice a footprint approaching the same size as that of the combined UK cable companies. Sky is reported to be considering a bid for the platform.

Huge audience figures for the launch of ITV4

ITV4's launch was one of the most successful digital channel debuts ever, new figures reveal. As well as achieving the highest peak ratings of a channel launch with 1.2m viewers, ITV4 was the most popular multichannel station of the night beating Sky One by 0.6 share points. The channel came on air at 7pm with live Champions League football, which averaged 633,000 viewers and a 4% share, peaking at 1.2m viewers.

Mobile phone TV service from Sky launches

Sky and Vodafone have launched a mobile TV service. Called Sky Mobile TV, it gives users of Vodafone's 3G handsets access to 24-hour news channels as well as sport, entertainment and documentary programmes. The companies said the service would be free until the end of January, and thereafter be £5 a month. The service consists of two packages: a news, sport and factual programme service, including content from CNN, and an entertainment and music package including content from Sky One and MTV.

Sky Three goes on air as Sky Two gets new look

Sky's entertainment channel Sky Three has launched on channel 108 and Sky Mix on channel 107 has been rebranded Sky Two. Sky Three provides a varied schedule of shows already shown on Sky One and original lifestyle commissions and travel documentaries from Sky Travel. In a statement, Dawn Airey, managing director of Sky Networks, said: "By launching simultaneously on Freeview, Sky Three will reach an even wider audience and offer digital terrestrial viewers the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of popular programmes from Sky."

Sky attracted 57,000 new summer subscribers

Sky has revealed that it is needs just 156,000 customers to reach its year-end target of 8 million subscribers. A total of 57,000 new subscribers joined the broadcaster's digital TV service during the three months between July and September, giving it 7,844,000 subscribers. Analysts noted, however, that the figure was far lower than during the same period last year where 62,000 subscribers were added in the same quarter.

Numbers of Sky+ and multi-room subscribers up

Sky has announced that the number of households who have signed up to its Sky+ personal video recorder service has broken the 1 million barrier. At the end of September, 1,027,000 households were using the service, which was up from 888,000 three months earlier. There was also an increase to multiroom subscribers by 103,000 in the quarter to 748,000. The broadcaster also said it had seen an increase of multi-room subscribers by 103,000 in the quarter to 748,000.

Rapture looks set to return to Sky again

Youth channel Rapture has announced that it hopes to return (again) to the Sky Digital line-up on November 14. The channel went off air during June 2004 but intends to return with revamped programming. Rapture has had a chequered history, having first started in 1997, then closed in 2001 before returning and closing down again last year.

Digital TV news in brief...

Michael Grade, BBC Chairman, has revealed that BBC World News will launch in the US, 24 hours a day, seven days a week... ITV's channels have become free-to-air, meaning that no Sky viewing card or basic subscription is required to view the channels...

QVC goes interactive on Freeview

QVC viewers on Freeview are now able to press the red button on their remote control to enter QVC Active to see a selection of products and services on the digital terrestrial platform. QVC Active on DTT features the Today's Special Value product, daily best sellers, 24 Hour Product Review, the QVC TV Guide and Help (customer service information).

Eutelsat cancels stock market float

Eutelsat has pulled its stock market flow saying that, while institutions were backing it, it was afraid the volatile market would significantly under value the business post-float. The private equity owned group was hoping to achieve a valuation of E3bn but had already cut the launch price by over 20%. The company said it was concerned "that the after-market performance would not, in light of the volatile market environment, reflect the fundamental value of the company."

Regards Satdude. :D
 

Satdude

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Satellite news 15.11.05

Cartoon Network to launch two new channels

The company behind Cartoon Network, Turner Broadcasting, is to launch two new channels next year in a bid to further boost its audience. Cartoon Network Too and Boomerang +1 will launch in early 2006. Cartoon Network Too will focus on classic cartoons such as Wacky Races and Hong Kong Phooey while Boomerang +1 will show family toons including Scooby-Doo and Tom & Jerry.

Youth channel Rapture returns to Sky

Youth clubbing channel Rapture TV has returned to the Sky Digital line-up after a long absence. It's available on channel 288 and is broacasting in the clear on 11.343GHz/H.

Sky News revamp is a flop with TV viewers

Sky News has lost almost 300,000 viewers since its multi-million pound revamp three weeks ago. Official ratings from BARB show Sky News lost 300,000 viewers on average in the first week, with BBC News 24 gaining 200,000 viewers. Furthermore, Sky News is not doing well at weekends, with BBC News 24 managing 42 per cent more viewers.

Sky welcomes BBC's high definition plans

The BBC has confirmed it is introducing high definition for many of its best-known programmes. It intends to 'simulcast' highlights of BBC1's peak time schedule in HD format from the middle of next year on satellite and cable. It will also launch a trial of HDTV broadcasts via Freeview. The news was welcomed by Sky, and Richard Freudenstein, its Chief Operating Officer, said: "Sky welcomes the announcement by the BBC. The BBC's commitment to HD is very positive news for this exciting technology and ensures that viewers will be able to enjoy an even wider choice of programmes in HD quality. Falling prices for HD Ready TVs available before Christmas are also contributing to growing interest in Sky's plans to launch HD."

Redemption TV will offer 'alternative television'

A brand new alternative lifestyle TV channel called Redemption TV has announced it will launch on Sky Digital in December. The channel is already on Sky channe 695 but will not officially launch until December 1. A spokesman said: "We have been going around the world filming music, fashion, festivals and much more including the Chicago and Whitby Goth Fests, London Edge Fashion Show, the International Tattoo Festival and over 80 live sets and interviews from bands."

Playboy launches new daytime TV channel

New daytime entertainment channel from Playboy TV has launched on Sky Digital channel 287, broacating on a free-to-air basis. Called Playboy One, the channel broadcasts clips of models as well as classic Playboy content including movies every week.

Channel 4 threatens TV programme producers

Channel 4 is threatening to start producing its own programmes if it cannot reach "a fair agreement over new media rights with independent producers." C4's chief executive Andy Duncan warned this week: "If there is no fair share and if we are given no comfort on this issue, Channel 4 will have no alternative but to go for in-house production." He added that "if independents push too hard there is no alternative ... This is not our preferred route, and we would need to agree this with Ofcom but my sense is that if we can't be given comfort that is what we will have to do." The threat from Channel 4 comes as broadcasters are locked into a fierce dispute with the independent producers' trade body, Pact, over the issue of new media rights, including broadband and video clips.

Telewest to launch UK's first HDTV service

Telewest aims to get one over on Sky by becoming the first TV operator in the UK to launch HDTV. The company has outlined plans for 'TV Drive', a new DVR box that will be available to all Telewest subscribers during the first quarter of 2006 and some customers in December. Telewest's set-top box will feature three tuners - one more than the Sky+ box - allowing viewers to simultaneously record two programmes while watching a third. It will also include a 160Gb hard drive. Telewest's HDTV service will launch at the same time, giving it a three to four month jump on Sky's planned offering. Telewest's Neil Smith revealed that movie and drama content had already been signed from Pathé and the BBC.

Sky plans to offer TV, Net and phons service

Sky is planning to launch a 'triple play' of TV, broadband and telephone services towards the end of 2006. The firm is spending up to £1 billion on acquiring broadband and telephony assets as the foundations of its new service. The news comes after the company bought Internet provider Easynet and is now reported to be considering a takeover of HomeChoice.

BBC2 will be first channel to go after digital switch

The BBC has said that BBC2 will be the first terrestrial channel to leave our screens when analogue TV is switched off in 2012. Once the channel has gone blank, a message will appear telling viewers that digital TV equipment is required to watch the channel.

Digital TV news in brief...

A new shopping channel called 2Shop TV has launched on Sky Digital channel 780... Well known shopping channel presenter Steve Whatley has sadly died.... Celebrity magazine OK! has taken a tentative step towards developing its own mobile TV service, teaming up with Orange to launch a video clip service called OK! TV... Veteran TV presenter Sir David Attenborough has announced his retirement from television... Sky has moved closer to its £211m acquisition of broadband network operator Easynet, a deal Sky chairman Rupert Murdoch said recently would help the company "reinvent" itself... The Sci Fi channel has become the latest addition to the line-up on UK broadband TV service, Homechoice... Sir David Frost is to present a new politics series for ITV concentrating on London... ITV has commissioned a series of lavish costume dramas based on popular Jane Austen novels, following the success of the adaptations of Pride & Prejudice.

ITV News Channel's hours cut back on Freeview

The ITV News Channel has cut its hours on Freeview to make way for the new channel ITV4. ITV has just five channel slots, occupied by ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV News and Men & Motors respectively, and either Men & Motors or the news operation faced the cut in hours to make room for ITV4.

ITV4 launches on Sky Digital channel 120

ITV4 joined the Sky Digital line-up on channel 120 after a delay of several days. The channel was expected to join the Sky line-up on its launch night but a dispute between Sky and ITV caused the delay and led to the channel showing first night's schedule on Men & Motors.

Regards Satdude. :D
 
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