Rivals complain to government over BBC digital plans

Leading commercial cable and satellite broadcasters in the UK have complained to the government in an attempt to hinder the BBC’s plans to launch several publicly funded digital services.

LONDON (Brand Republic) – Leading commercial cable and satellite broadcasters in the UK have complained to the government in an attempt to hinder the BBC’s plans to launch several publicly funded digital services.

The BBC has submitted plans to the government to launch an entertainment channel dubbed BBC3, which is to be based on a relaunch of existing digital channel BBC Choice, an arts service to be called BBC4 and two free children’s channels.

Commercial rivals, including MTV, CNN, Nickelodeon, Telewest, Discovery and the Cartoon Network, are angry about the proposals, believing that the corporation is encroaching on their territory and muscling in on already well-served areas. They also fear that the BBC is not being as closely monitored as it should by the government.

The commercial broadcasters have complained to culture secretary Chris Smith, accusing the corporation of hiring staff and making plans for the channels’ launches before the proposals have been approved.

Earlier this week, the BBC signed a £250,000 deal to keep Christopher Price, a newsreader on BBC Choice, at the corporation for the next two years.

The companies have demanded that regulations governing the BBC be clarified ahead of any government decision on the new services. Chris Smith announced last summer that the corporation would be subject to tougher rules when launching new licence-fee funded services.



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