200 lose jobs in Live TV closure

Trinity Mirror is making over 200 Live TV staff redundant following the cable station’s closure last week, including managing director Mark Cullen and managing director of parent company Mirrortel, Richard Horwood.

The cable station made its final broadcast last Friday after four years’ existence during which it gained much publicity for stunts such as the News Bunny, the weather in Norwegian and topless darts. But it attracted few viewers or advertisers even though it had guaranteed access to millions of homes. Its total losses have been estimated at £40m.

Trinity Mirror says cable television “is a very small world with a finite number of viewers,” but claims the station was “very successful after the watershed”.

Live was sold to CPP1, a consortium of cable operators which owned 10 per cent of the station. The consortium paid £10m for the carriage agreements – which guaranteed Live was delivered to every one of the consortium’s cable homes – and £5m for a non-competition agreement and a commitment by Trinity Mirror to revoke its broadcasting licence.

Most of the 200 staff are based in London, with some 50 in Birmingham and Edinburgh. A Trinity Mirror spokesman says: “We have started an outplacement service trying to find jobs within Trinity Mirror, or elsewhere.”

There are unlikely to be many suitable jobs at Trinity Mirror, as it is a newspaper company and the Live staff are experienced in television. Trinity is to spend £5m to cover the costs of closing the station.

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