Daily Mail may set up 'lifestyle' TV channel

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The Independent Online
Daily Mail & General Trust, the media giant controlled by Lord Rothermere, is in negotiations with BSkyB to develop a television channel for broadcast on satellite, it emerged last night.

The move marks the first potential association between DMGT and BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster owned 40 per cent by Rupert Murdoch thatdominates the pounds 1.3bn pay-television market in the UK.

Dubbed Daily Mail TV, the service would be aimed at a largely female audience and would focus on lifestyle themes. DMGT, which publishes the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and the Evening Standard, is already a major pay-television broadcaster through its City-TV format Channel One.

The new service, which DMGT hopes will emulate the mid-market appeal of the Daily Mail, would be introduced as part of BSkyB's multi-channel package on digital satellite, due to be launched at the end of 1997. It would join other services such as pay-per-view movies and sport and general entertainment channels, as well as interactive programming.

Existing channels in BSkyB's analogue package would also be transmitted on the digital service. BSkyB has been in negotiations with other channels about providing carriage once the digital service is launched.

DMGT's television strategy has been developed by Sir David English, chief executive of Associated Newspapers, DMGT's publishing arm. The company intends to continue rolling out its City-TV format under the direction of Julian Aston, head of Channel One.

There are no plans to seek digital satellite carriage for Channel One, which is one of two "cornerstone" services available only on cable. Both Channel One and Live TV, owned by the Mirror Group, are paid well over the market average for their services - as much as 25p a subscriber, according to industry estimates.