Telewest and Flextech merger looks likely

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, Flextech.

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,

Flextech.



The proposed merger, the second possible major media consolidation

revealed in the past ten days, has been largely welcomed by the media

community.



’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

years.



The list includes retailers, financial institutions and entertainment

brands.



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