Magazine article Marketing

Channel Storm May Force Cable to Alter Course

Magazine article Marketing

Channel Storm May Force Cable to Alter Course

Article excerpt

The story of cable television in the UK has been a saga of ever-reducing expectations, like a football team that never quite makes it to the Premiership whatever money is lavished upon it.

The sackings at Channel One, the cable-exclusive news channel for London, is a significant staging post along the way. A brave face, of course, is being put on it and channel owner the Viscount Rothermere has not actually killed the channel off, although clearly he must have been tempted. There is now an opportunity to show programmes that give the 'flavour' of the capital and very local news via a text service along the bottom of the picture. Research shows - doesn't it always - that this is the service the customer wanted all along. Naturally, cable companies, who pay around [pounds]3 a year per subscriber for the service, are ecstatic to be spending closer to [pounds]3m a year than the current [pounds]10m.

The main production desks will all go and the five-camera studio is to be let out. The presentation studio in Channel 4's old headquarters will be enough for Channel One's reduced ambitions in future - one up to merchant banker Bruce, Fireman, who listened to a Royal Television Society speech last year by Channel One managing director Julian Aston and didn't even need the back of his menu to declare: "It can't work, there's no money."

Over at Live TV, Kelvin Mackenzie is crowing like a cock on a dunghill that top-less darts and the weather forecast in Norwegian should have apparently ousted an attempt to produce a serious news channel for London. …

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