Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell (N&S), parent company of Express Newspapers, is to launch two Daily Express-branded interactive satellite shopping channels this year. The channels will be kept at arms’ length from N&S’s adult entertainment channels and will sit in a new division, Portland Interactive.
N&S plans to invest &£10m in the launch of the shopping ventures and three other non-adult interactive channels on BSkyB’s satellite platform. The other channels will be Jackpot, a gaming channel; the Horoscope Channel; and a channel dedicated to Bollywood films.
N&S’s adult channels, which provide Desmond with revenue estimated at &£17m last year, sit within parent company Portland Enterprises. Portland also makes television commercials.
Express Newspapers group marketing director Roland Agambar will have responsibility for marketing the Express-branded channels.
A spokesman for Express Newspapers says that there will be cross-promotional activity between the newspapers and the satellite channels. He adds: “Shopping is the new entertainment and this is an extension of what we know and understand. We have a reputation for quality and the Express is a trustworthy brand.”
The content and look of the channels will be the responsibility of Portland programme director Paul Dunthorne.
N&S is also to launch six new adult channels, under the Erotika brand, this summer. The channels will show “softcore” full-length feature films.