There are certain things in life you never really know you need
until someone invents them. Like media auditors, Chris Evans or Galaxy
Swirls. It’s only once you’ve tried them that you realise life had
something missing before and it can never be quite the same again
without them. So as the prospect looms of the demise of the News Bunny,
I can’t help feeling a little sad.
Not that I’ve ever been a fan of Live TV.
But television life wouldn’t be quite the same without topless darts to
remind us that ITV could actually be worse than it already is.
New rulings on the unbundling of cable TV channels could kill off the
likes of Live TV in a bid to offer consumers greater choice in the
multi-channel cable TV market. For years, the big programme suppliers
have had the cable industry by the balls, bestowing their top channels
only as part of a package which includes less popular fare - take it or
Now the Independent Television Commission is about to change all
The idea is that, instead of paying pounds 55 a month for 40-odd
channels of which I actually want maybe seven or eight, I can pick my
favourites, pay less and enjoy real value for money.
I can tell you what they’ll be right now. My top line-up would certainly
include a couple of movie channels (don’t watch them but like to know
they’re there), UK Gold, Paramount Comedy Channel, Sky News, a sports
channel, MTV (for wiggling to while ironing) and, well, that’s about
So there’s my little capsule of channels and, as long as any new
channels are fully showcased free of charge before I have to decide
whether to add them to my list, I think I’d feel pretty happy that this
whole unbundling malarky was working for me. Bye bye News Bunny, no hard
feelings but you’re not for me.
But it’s one thing making an informed personal decision that Live TV is
tripe, and quite another discouraging the emergence of new channels.
Because that’s one real downside of the new rules. Take Paramount - once
a sad little general entertainment channel which I wouldn’t have given a
second glance, now my preferred bedtime viewing after Jeremy Paxman.
Will Paramount be given the time to grow and improve under the new
regime? Will such channels even get off the ground or will the economics
and uncertainties of the new rules hamper experimentation and
Mirror Group, owner of Live TV, and its fellow minor channels are
understandably up in arms over the new regime but, in truth, I have
little sympathy for them. We’ve given them a go, now the market will
It’s the channels I don’t yet know about, and perhaps never will, that
concern me - because now we may never get the opportunity to choose
Don’t forget that, when faced with multi-channel television, 70 per cent
of us still only tick five boxes - the free-to-air terrestrial channels.