MyTravel digital TV venture in jeopardy

Beleaguered holiday company MyTravel is struggling to get its long-planned interactive digital television channel off the ground.

Plans for the channel were announced in May, and the launch was originally earmarked for October, but insiders claim that the company’s financial woes mean the channel has been put on hold “indefinitely”.

MyTravel now says that the channel will launch in February, which means it will miss the crucial post-Christmas holiday booking season. The intention is to run the operation from the company’s Manchester headquarters. MyTravel has appointed Littlewoods head of interactive Karen Kidd as commercial director of MyTravel TV.

Thomas Cook launched its own digital television channel in December last year (MW November 8, 2001) to compete against established operations such as TV Travel Shop.

MyTravel is scheduled to release its annual results on November 26, although observers expect them to be delayed while the tour operator struggles to get its accounts signed off in time. The company has seen its share price crash since issuing two profit warnings in four months and admitting accounting irregularities.

The Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard are merging their property advertising sales teams in a move that could herald further integration on Associated Newspaper titles.

There has been speculation for some time that Associated has been considering ways of integrating the sales teams working on the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday, the Standard and free newspaper Metro. Associated has frequently denied that it has such a plan.

Speculation was fuelled by Metro chief Mike Anderson’s appointment as managing director of the Standard in September. Although Metro has a new managing director, Anderson retains responsibility for the paper’s brand strategy development. His tenure has already seen Standard supplement Hot Tickets rebranded as Metro Life, and the replacement of ad sales director Mike Orlov with former CIA UK managing director Alan Brydon (MW October 10).

Mail on Sunday display director Sue Dear confirms that the property teams will merge, selling for both the Mail on Sunday and the Standard. She says: “It makes absolute sense in a very difficult market.” She makes no comment on possible redundancies

The Mail on Sunday’s Property supplement is carried only in London and the South-east. The Standard carries its property supplement on a Wednesday.

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