BSkyB includes radio in digital expansion

BSkyB has agreed to carry radio broadcasts on Sky Digital, in a deal designed to broaden the range of Sky’s digital services and bring in new listeners for embryonic digital radio stations.

BSkyB has agreed to carry radio broadcasts on Sky Digital, in a

deal designed to broaden the range of Sky’s digital services and bring

in new listeners for embryonic digital radio stations.



BSkyB will launch 20 radio stations on Sky Digital, from 15

November.



This coincides with the launch of the first national digital multiplex,

run by Digital One.



The radio stations will be available to all Sky digital subscribers via

their home set-top boxes and channels can be selected using the

electronic programme guides (EPGs).



As part of the deal, BSkyB offered each radio station a place on its EPG

listings, for a nominal fee.



The BBC will broadcast its five national services and the World Service

on digital satellite, alongside Virgin Radio, Talk, Classic FM and

Capital Radio.



According to BSkyB, the deal is advantageous for everyone involved: ’It

pushes fledgling digital radio into more homes and it enhances digital

satellite television for a mass audience,’ a spokesman said.



The move will create a knock-on effect for radio advertisers too, as ads

normally carried on analogue will be elevated from a local to a national

level. So the BBC’s Asian Network, Radio Ulster, Radio Scotland and

Radio Wales will acquire national status for the first time, as will

Capital’s Xfm, Capital Gold and Classic Gold stations.



The GWR group will also launch a rock channel, called The Mix, which

will be designed specifically for Sky Digital. Planet Rock and Core -

the new digital channels recently announced by GWR - will be broadcast

on both the new digital multiplex and Sky.



GWR’s group programming director Steve Orchard said: ’The transmission

of the new services on Sky digital gives a large section of the

population the opportunity to sample the new radio brands. This trial

will help us to increase demand for digital set-top boxes.’



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