Brit Digital wants MTV

Nick included in Viacom deal

LONDON — British Digital Broadcasting, the digital terrestrial TV group, is in negotiations with Viacom to include services such as MTV and Nickelodeon in BDB’s planned launch of 15 channels this fall.

Bringing the webs on board would spruce up BDB’s platform with established brands. The group — which is 50/50-owned by Granada Group and Carlton Communications — would then drop some of the channels it had been preparing for the launch.

The drawback is that there would then be fewer outlets for Granada and Carlton-produced programming. Overall, however, the channel package would be more competitive to rival digital platforms on satellite and cable, such as the 200 or so channels satcaster BSkyB is planning.

In total, there are 30 digital terrestrial channels skedded for the U.K., including digital versions of existing British terrestrials.

Of BDB’s 15 channels, Granada and Carlton are each licensed to supply four, others are based on BBC programming, and there are four premium services from BSkyB — Sky One, Sky Sports, Sky Screen One and Sky Screen Two. Any services from Viacom would displace only the Granada and Carlton channels.

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