SelecTV to launch cable channel

SelecTV, the independent production company responsible for TV hits including Birds of a Feather and Boon, is to launch its own cable channel on May 21.

The company confirmed plans this week at the same time as the Independent Television Commission published its latest figures, showing the continued growth of UK cable.

In the last quarter of 1994, UK cable subscriptions rose by 130,000 – the largest quarter-on-quarter increase, ITC director of cable and satellite Jon Davey told the Financial Times’ Cable Satellite and New Media Conference on Tuesday.

This contributed to a 50 per cent growth in cable availability last year. From January 1, 4.8 million UK homes had been passed for cable, 1.05 million connected.

SelecTV plans to exploit this growth by providing a cable-exclusive comedy, drama and popular entertainment channel – to be known as SelecTV. It will broadcast from 5pm to midnight on weekdays and midday to midnight at weekends.

The independent production company – in which the Daily Mail and General Trust owns a 13.25 per cent stake and media and financial services group MAI 4.19 per cent – has been considering a move into broadcasting for some time.

It initially worked with Associated Newspapers on plans for Channel One – the London cable channel launched late last year – although it withdrew from the venture last July.

News of the move has been welcomed by the cable industry, which looks set to benefit from new growth in the provision of cable-exclusive services.

Aside from Associated’s plans for a national roll out of Channel One, Mirror Group is developing a rival service, Live TV. Two weeks ago Mirror Television bought national cable-exclusive channel Wire TV from CPP-1 – a consortium of the UK’s largest cable operators.

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