Plans to launch TV channel solely for advertisers falter

LONDON - Plans by a consortium of the UK's largest advertisers to launch an advertiser TV channel have stalled just one month before it was due to launch.

The group of 10 advertisers, which includes Orange, Unilever and Honda, represent 40% of total TV advertising spend. They have been working with the digital TV specialist Zip TV to create a rival interactive TV channel to Sky's offering, called Consortium4TV.

Honda had been due to become the first advertiser to launch a campaign using the channel in April. However, this has been put back because of problems securing the necessary agreements with the broadcasters.

Andrew Howells, the managing director of Zip TV, admitted that there were delays in the service coming to air because contracts had still to be finalised. "We haven't got all our ducks in a row yet, although we are comfortable and confident with the process," he said.

Consortium4TV launched last August in a bid to offer a cheaper interactive service than that available through Sky Active.

The plan was for the advertisers to club together to buy bandwidth directly from BT and Astra. They would then divide the bandwidth between them and run interactive ads in the normal way in commercial airtime.

The difference with the service is that if the consumer chose to go into the interactive mode by pressing the red button on the electronic programme guide, this would be via the Consortium4TV offering rather than through Sky Active.

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