C&W and BSkyB set to trial digital television

Digital television trials are to launch in the UK before Christmas following a deal signed last week between Cable & Wireless and British Sky Broadcasting.

Digital television trials are to launch in the UK before Christmas

following a deal signed last week between Cable & Wireless and British

Sky Broadcasting.



The C&W-BSkyB deal will mean a joint launch for digital cable and

digital satellite TV next spring. However, before a full launch in the

first part of next year, C&W will be holding trials for 500 customers in

London by Christmas.



The aim of the alliance is to simplify the digital message for customers

of both cable and satellite TV and the two companies will co-ordinate

advertising and marketing efforts to promote digital TV to viewers.



The deal gives C&W customers access to BSkyB’s Sky Box Office of

pay-per-view movies and sport on both analogue and digital platforms, at

a stroke making Sky’s digital services available to analogue cable

customers.



The alliance also sees a split in the cable TV community between C&W,

the biggest player, and its rivals, Telewest, Diamond Cable, NTL and

General Cable, which have joined forces to launch their own

pay-per-view movie service.



The BSkyB-C&W tie-up is expected to strengthen BSkyB’s hand in future

negotiations with Hollywood studios for pay-TV movie rights.



At the same time, C&W is in discussions with a raft of US companies

about supplying interactive services to its 700,000 TV customers. Home

shopping and access to the Internet are likely to be part of the C&W

package.



Graham Wallace, C&W’s chief executive, said the deal would avoid

consumer confusion and drive penetration.



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