- United News & Media has won a place in the digital terrestrial future as part of a deal which allows Stephen Grabiner, the chief executive of its Express Newspapers group, to take up his new post as chief executive of the digital consortium, British Digital Broadcasting, with immediate effect.
The agreement brings to an end a tug-of-war over Grabiner, who was appointed by BDB in January, but was not released by United, which threatened to hold him to his full 12 month notice period. Had he been held for the full term, he would have missed the scheduled launch of BDB -- which is co-owned by United's ITV partners, Granada and Carlton -- later this year.
United has now agreed to let Grabiner go, in return for which it will become a content provider for BDB. Express Newspapers' titles could also be used for promotional purposes, just as Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has used its national newspapers to promote BSkyB.
BDB will launch a 15-channel digital terrestrial TV service in Britain this autumn.
Lord Hollick, chief executive of United, said: "I am pleased to have reached an amicable conclusion to this matter. I look forward to working with Stephen in his new role."