NEWS: Granada and Sky plan eight-channel venture

Granada Television is to launch eight television channels next year in a new joint initiative with Sky.

Granada Television is to launch eight television channels next year in a

new joint initiative with Sky.



The two broadcasters have formed a joint company, Granada Sky

Broadcasting, and the new channels will be a part of Sky’s multi-channel

package.



The niche channels will draw on the extensive programming libraries of

Granada TV and its sister station, LWT, as well as new programming using

the company’s production facilities.



The main new channel, Granada Gold Plus, will offer a range of classic

programming and specially made, hosted shows to pull the schedule

together. Classic programmes include library editions of Coronation

Street, Jeeves and Wooster, Please Sir and The Charmer. Granada has

stressed that ITV will continue to be the first outlet for its new

flagship series.



Other new channels include Health and Beauty, Granada TV Shopping Guide,

Home and Garden, Food and Wine, Granada Good Life, and Granada Men and

Motoring. Granada and Sky are also working on a channel that will cover

detective series.



All of the channels will be transmitted from the Astra satellites,

although negotiations for transponder space have yet to be completed.



The channels will be sold by a 30-strong sales team currently being put

together by Granada’s sales house, Laser Sales. Mick Desmond, the chief

executive of Laser, said that he hoped to have a sales director in place

by January. The new team will be housed alongside Laser and although it

will be a separate, dedicated team, it will share a number of resources

with Laser, such as research and marketing.



Granada has an aggregate holding of around 10 per cent in BSkyB and the

two companies have been working closely together since Granada’s chief

executive, Gerry Robinson, took on the role of chairman of BSkyB’s board

of directors.



Granada will ultimately have a 60 per cent stake in the new company,

with Sky taking 40 per cent.



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