Bloomberg to run 24-hour TV news

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The Independent Online
Bloomberg, the financial data company, is to launch a 24-hour all-news channel in the UK next year, as part of the BSkyB digital multichannel package.

The company, owned 70 per cent by former merchant banker Michael Bloomberg, is also lining up European deals to carry localised versions of its television service, which is already available in the US. A French-language service will be launched on 18 November as part of the Canal Plus package.

Bloomberg-branded television is already broadcast on a limited basis in the UK, including on Sky News. But the 24-hour format will be made possible by the greatly expanded capacity afforded by BSkyB's digital satellite service, due to be launched in the autumn of 1997.

Sky is expected to launch with at least 100 channels, adding other services over time. In addition to its analogue range, which is likely to migrate to the digital platform, Sky has signed deals with other broadcasters to join the digital bouquet in time for the launch.

There are also plans to offer pay-per-view sport and films, as well as Internet connections and electronic banking.

The Bloomberg television channel will be produced in London, at the company's City offices. Mr Bloomberg, who confirmed the digital plans in an interview with the Independent, conceded that television revenues are likely to be small next to the pounds 930m the company earned last year from the sale of its terminals and related financial information services.

"It's hard to see what you might call the media businesses generating anything like the business that the terminals generate," Mr Bloomberg said. "That part of our business is growing at 30 per cent. We'd have to be awfully successful at television to come close to that."