Media: Lifeline - Sci Fi Channel

The satellite and cable broadcaster celebrates its tenth birthday this week.

1995: Universal Studios Networks, part of the media empire of Jean-Marie Messier (pictured), launches Sci Fi - the only channel dedicated to the genre - on cable and satellite in the UK. Three years later, Janet Goldsmith is appointed managing director.

2000: Martin Heaton Cooper becomes the sales director. The channel shows its commitment to indigenous production with the inauguration of Sci Fi Shorts. The annual script-writing initiative, created by Sci Fi and First Film Foundation, develops and produces high-quality short films for theatrical release in UCI cinemas nationwide.

2002: The channel begins to flirt with the racier end of the cult viewing spectrum, launching Headf**k, a youth-oriented series of bizarre, surreal and trippy music videos, animations and shorts - featuring none other than David Icke. The channel also buys The Dead Zone - the highest-rating US cable show ever.

2004: Following the merger of Universal with NBC to create the media conglomerate NBC Universal, Goldsmith departs and Sci Fi repositions itself as a mainstream entertainment brand - reflecting the global interest in the genre. It spends £2 million on a new on-air package, off-air marketing material, fresh programming strands and a redesigned website.

2005: Nick Betts (pictured), formerly UKTV's commercial director, is appointed managing director. Sci Fi increases its share of 16- to 34-year-olds by 29.3 per cent year on year in the first six months. August figures reveal that 51 per cent of its viewers are female.

Fast forward ...

2007: NBC has snapped up the ITV network and Sci Fi is relaunched as ITV6: The Twilight Zone. The acquisition of a couple of important film archives allows it to create a spin-off Sci Fi classic movie channel. It also launches a series of science fiction conventions in the Millennium Dome - although attendance is poor because aficionados fear it is a front for a mass alien abduction.

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