Granada to delay PowerChannel launch due to ‘technical problems’

Granada Media has admitted that it has no idea when it will launch Internet television system PowerChannel, in which it took a £13.5m stake last year.

Granada has delayed the launch four times since making the investment last April. PowerChannel was billed as offering free Internet access through the TV for people without personal computers, and had an estimated take-up of 2 million homes.

“Net-top boxes” were to be distributed free through the Granada Rentals chain. Users would have free TV Internet access in return for filling in a questionnaire every month, which would then be sold on to data-capture companies.

Its first launch date last July was pushed back to September and then to January this year. But a Granada spokeswoman now says that, due to “technical problems”, the launch has been delayed again, though this time there is no proposed new date.

The development comes as Granada axes its website GWizz and shifts its Internet strategy to focus on building the Itv.co.uk site in conjunction with Carlton. But a Granada spokeswoman insists PowerChannel will not be axed.

“Nothing has changed. It is delayed, but there are no plans to scrap it and we will remain a 23 per cent stakeholder,” she says.

However, television insiders do not see how PowerChannel fits into Granada’s strategy, as ONdigital, half-owned by Granada and Carlton, has already launched the ONnet service offering TV Internet.

PowerChannel were not available for comment.

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