Cable-only services on the increase

A weather channel, horse racing channel and a new business and finance channel have joined the list of cable-exclusive services launching shortly in the UK.

Cable sources confirm that Bloomberg Information Television’s The Racing Channel, backed by SIS – the company that transmits live racing coverage to Britain’s bookmakers – and The Weather Channel, backed by US company Landmark, will launch in the next few months.

Meanwhile, Sci-Fi Channel Europe will launch as a full 24-hour-a-day service on cable on November 1, its backer USA Networks International confirmed last week. Also due to launch soon are at least two Christian cable TV networks.

“These new services will be channels in their own right, unlike some of those already mooted in association with Sky,” one cable source observes. “It’s all part of our attempt to build cable through increasing the range – and quality – of channels on offer.”

BSkyB is expected to unveil at least seven new services this autumn, although it has not confirmed any details other than the launch of Disney Channel UK on Sunday (October 1), and Playboy TV on November 1.

The satellite broadcaster is understood to be launching the five other programme services by piggybacking existing channels – a necessity because of the limited capacity on the Astra satellite.

These other services include: European Business News, previously available only on cable; highlights from the new Sci-Fi Channel; a Christian service; a history service; a family entertainment service from Paramount; and a “classic” sports events service.

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