BSkyB, CWC digitize in U.K.

LONDON — Satcaster British Sky Broadcasting and Cable & Wireless Communications, the U.K.’s biggest cable operator, have announced an alliance for the launch of 200 digital channels next spring, likely making it the first digital platform to launch in Britain.

The deal includes CWC formally agreeing to carry BSkyB’s planned pay-per-view service, Sky Box Office (Daily Variety, Oct. 30).

It could affect those Hollywood studios that have not yet showed their hands on whether they have done, or will do, exclusive or non-exclusive PPV deals with BSkyB and its PPV rival, the cable consortium of four cablers led by Telewest, the U.K.’s second-largest operator.

The only confirmed Hollywood deals in place are non-exclusive between Warner and BSkyB and Warner and the cable consortium.

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