The development of digital interactive television was given a boost
this week following the announcement that Telewest Communications, the
UK’s largest cable operator, is in talks with the content supplier,
The proposed merger, the second possible major media consolidation
revealed in the past ten days, has been largely welcomed by the media
’To anyone who is forward-looking, this has got to seem a fantastic
chance to exploit the digital opportunities of the future,’ Ivan Clark,
director of TV strategy at MediaCom TMD, said.
The proposed merger would create a pounds 10 billion pay-TV company and
would unite Telewest’s cable platform with Flextech’s 13 television
channels, which include Bravo, Living and UK TV and UK Gold, via a joint
venture deal with the BBC.
The decision to integrate would offer Telewest additional content to
boost its interactive services. Flextech, meanwhile, would receive a
locked-in distribution channel for its programming.
’This is a positive move for digital interactive television because it
will unite a company with quality programming with a company that
understands the technology and how to develop it,’ David Cuff, broadcast
director at Initiative Media, said. ’It is like the creation of a
digital high street - they are suddenly owners of quite significant real
estate. This hints at a profitable future for them.’
In addition, Telewest has revealed that it is planning to sign up 300
content providers for its interactive services over the next three
The list includes retailers, financial institutions and entertainment