CWC threatens to axe The Travel Channel

The Travel Channel faces being dropped by Cable & Wireless Communications’ (CWC) in a review of its cable channel packages.

The Travel Channel faces being dropped by Cable & Wireless Communications’ (CWC) in a review of its cable channel packages.

A spokesman for CWC says: “We are in negotiations with the Travel Channel and monitoring its performance very closely.”

Sources suggest CWC could be negotiating carriage agreements for more BSkyB channels, including its Sky Travel channel. This would replace The Travel Channel, which is produced by US broadcaster Landmark and was launched in the UK in 1994.

At the moment some channels are available in some or all of CWC’s franchise regions – in London, the South Coast and parts of the North-west – but not others.

Cable channels have traditionally negotiated medium to long-term carriage contracts of between two and ten years. The Travel Channel has been carried by CWC for the past five years.

Gavin Bradley, manager of TV services at CWC, says: “We are investigating how we move forward on the Travel Channel. This is part of a broader review. We are deciding whether we drop channels or extend them.”

The Travel Channel refused to comment.

CWC says it is also looking at introducing new channels on a trial basis so that viewers can sample them for free before subscribing.

The news follows the ITC ruling last week that minimum carriage requirements, which obliged viewers to subscribe to large bundles of channels before being allowed to purchase premium sports and film channels, will be prohibited – although the requirements do not apply to existing contracts until January 1 2000.

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