BSKYB considers channel options

British Sky Broadcasting is exploring plans to add family, science-fiction and music channels to its satellite TV service this year, along with the already announced U.K. version of children’s cable web Nickelodeon.

These are among the extra-channel options being considered by the company, program director David Elstein said yesterday.

BSkyB currently operates six channels: sports, news, general entertainment and three movie services.

Elstein indicated that the company may join forces with Intl. Family Entertainment to create a British version of the Family Channel, which IFE hopes to launch later this year.

BSkyB has already entered a similar joint venture with the U.S. children’s service Nickelodeon, which will debut in the United Kingdom this fall.

Elstein also said, “The record companies would very much like us to put together a music station that is a slice of the market above MTV.” This would mean a music channel less narrowly targeted at the Euro youth audience, he explained. “The youth market is declining, in any case,” he observed.

Concerning a possible sci-fi channel, he pointed to results of the Sci-Fi Channel in the United States as encouraging. He also suggested that BSkyB might consider launching a second sports service and said the company was expected to start pay-per-view for movies and soccer next year.

Elstein was speaking at a Financial Times conference on cable and satellite television in London. It was his first public speech since he left the former ITV station Thames TV to join BSkyB last month.

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