Five goes digital with Brainteaser deal

Terrestrial broadcaster Five is making a tentative first step into the world of digital television by forming a joint venture with interactive media group YooMedia.

The pair launched YooPlayTV last week and the first Five programming – an interactive four-hour extended version of its kids quiz show Brainteaser - will broadcast from Monday 15 August.

The Endemol-produced show will include “high-quality” quizzes and games, but will be free from advertising breaks.

The remaining 20 hours of programming on the channel, which has taken slot 279 on the Sky platform, will include other YooMedia-produced quiz and puzzle opt-in shows, such as Quiz for Cash.

It is believed the channel was well into its final development phase before discussions took place recently between YooMedia and Five to make the channel a joint venture between two pair.

Jonathan Lewis, head of commercial development at Five, said: “Brainteaser has proved to be a real interactive success story and so the logical next step was always to extend this winning format on to other platforms.

“We also believe Endemol’s experience in this area will deliver the high quality production that Five’s viewers demand of this type of programming.”

The launch gives Five its first presence in the multi-channel television arena and comes just weeks after German-owner RTL took full control of the company, sparking rumours that its long-awaited move to digital would finally become a reality.

Neil MacDonald, group managing director of YooMedia, said: “We are delighted by the prospect of both developing the YooPlay brand through the launch of this channel and the regular broadcast of our own participation TV show.

“The opportunity to host an extended version of the UK's most successful format of this type and to work with partners such as Five and Endemol is an added bonus for YooPlay TV.”

The collaboration between Five and YooMedia is expected to last 13 weeks, when a review of the project will be carried out with a extension of the deal earmarked into 2006.

By Kevin May

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