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TCI plans global musicvid channel

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (Reuters) — Tele-Communications Inc., the nation’s largest cable television operator, said Thursday it is holding talks with several music companies to launch a musicvideo channel.

“We are currently in discussions with music companies about the possibility of a new broad-based musicvideo service, not only domestically but worldwide,” chief executive John Malone said.

Malone was speaking at a news conference to open the company’s $ 100 million state-of-the-art National Digital Television Center, south of Denver.

Last fall, TCI entered a joint venture with Bertelsmann Music Group to create a musicvideo channel to allow viewers to program selections and purchase products (Daily Variety, Sept. 17, 1993). Subsequently, Sony Music and Warner Music Group joined to explore their own challenge to the stranglehold of MTV, the pioneer in musicvideo programming that is a major money-earner for Viacom Inc. (Daily Variety, Jan. 21).

TCI said separately it has chosen Sybase Inc. of Emeryville, Calif., to develop a new customer service data network to handle subscriptions and billing transactions.

The online system will allow Englewood, Colo.-based TCI to introduce new services to improve communication within the company and to suppliers and customers, according to TCI.

The system will also be used to link its employees around the world by providing voice, video conferencing, data and Internet access for Telecoms operations in the United States and Europe.

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