Setanta's reach for the Sky cast into doubt


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Setanta's reach for the Sky cast into doubt

A question mark hangs over the launch of the Setanta Sports News service, designed to rival Sky Sports News, after a key production partner, TWI, the sports-content production arm of IMG Media, pulled out of the project.

A barrage of costly advertising by Virgin Media, the platform for the new Setanta service, promised: "Very soon you'll be able to keep track of the whole world of football with our exclusive new channel, Setanta Sports News." But just how soon?

The service, planned to take on the exhaustive rolling tickertape and breaking news coverage of Sky Sports News, was planned to launch on September 29 but that has now been ruled out.

Virgin Media and Setanta, who paid £392m to break Sky's live Premier League monopoly and screen 46 matches this season, were to have teamed up with the experienced TWI. But yesterday TWI, which produces Sky's cricket coverage and all the BBC's snooker and darts, said: "Unfortunately we were not able to agree terms [with Virgin Media] so our involvement in the project has come to an end."

Virgin Media says that it remains committed to the channel, partly because of a row over fees which meant that Sky Sports News was dropped from the Virgin platform this year.

Setanta is now understood to be in discussion with other potential production partners and it hopes that the channel will launch before the end of the year.

Regards Satdude.