Flextech spin-off goes for UK Gold

UK cable and satellite programming group Flextech has launched its sales department as an independent sales house to represent Flextech-managed and independent channels.

The move follows Flextech’s acquisition of 61 per cent of The Family Channel, which it will now overhaul to improve performance.

Airtime sales for The Family Channel will be handled by Flextech’s new sales company. Family Channel sales director Alan Bryson was made redundant last week as a result; he joins NBC Super Channel as European sales director on April 22. The remaining 11 staff are discussing future options this week.

Flextech’s new sales company will employ at least 25 people, managed by Richard Burdett, currently Flextech senior vice-president sales. Burdett will report directly to Flextech TV operations md Brent Harman.

“Client” channels will have access to in-house research resources currently managed by David Brennan, the former ITV controller of audience planning.

The company will represent at least 14 channels, and more if negotiations to buy Cox Communications’ 35 per cent stake in UK Gold and UK Living lead to a deal.

Should Flextech acquire a majority stake in the two channels, sources suggest a merged sales operation could be run by Burdett or UK Gold/Living sales director Paul Taylor.

Taylor says talks will resume once Flextech’s negotiations with Cox are resolved. Meanwhile, a restructuring of the UK Gold/Living sales department is almost complete.

Taylor confirms that two-thirds of the department will follow former sales director Nick Milligan to Channel 5. His senior team comprises Mark Howe – promoted to sales controller – and two new account directors: Julia Jordan from NBC Super Channel, and TSMS group sales manager Martin Plant. Chris Hancox is to join as head of research from Flextech.

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