Cabler could deal with BSkyB
LONDON — E! Entertainment Television is looking to set up a British version of America’s E! Entertainment cable channel, most likely in a joint venture with satcaster BSkyB.
Although a BSkyB representative cautioned that talks were still at an “early stage,” BSkyB has previously partnered in joint-venture channels such as Nickelodeon and the shopping channel QVC and may take a similar stake in an E! for the U.K.
A British E! would add value to Sky Digital, BSkyB’s 200-channel digital platform due to launch Oct. 1. Despite the platform’s size, relatively few of the channels on offer are new services.
Movies and sports are the drivers of multichannel TV in the U.K. and the entertainment biz content of E! would complement Sky Digital’s movie channels, which will, including tiering, add up to about 50 services.
Meanwhile, MUTV, the TV channel specific to Manchester United soccer club, is expanding to broadcast six hours per day seven days a week. It will be carried by Sky Digital, but also on cable and On Digital, the digital terrestrial network.
MUTV, which is billed as “the world’s first daily soccer club channel,” is a joint venture among Manchester United, BSkyB and Granada Media Group, one of the partners in On Digital and the reason BSkyB did not get MUTV on an exclusive basis. Other channels, such as Discovery, are exclusive to Sky Digital.
Subscribers will pay $8 a month for MUTV and the service will air between 6 p.m. and midnight.