Digital TV move by Capital

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The Independent Online
CAPITAL RADIO is keen to help launch a digital television channel based on its popular radio station, though it has not received any offers from television companies, it said yesterday.

"We have a good relationship with the TV companies," David Mansfield, Capital's chief executive, said. "I'm amazed they haven't asked us yet."

Mr Mansfield said the company would like to lend its Capital brand name to the station, but would let the television group run the channel and take care of the programming.

"We think digital will be dominated by brands," he explained. "And we would have no problem with promoting the channel on our radio stations."

However, Mr Mansfield stressed that the suggestion did not herald a move into TV for Capital. The company has only just managed to extract itself from a disastrous foray into TV production.

He was speaking as Capital unveiled a 7 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 18.1m for the six months to March 31. Revenues rose by 11.7 per cent to pounds 55.6m.

Mr Mansfield stressed that the company still had scope to grow its radio operations, despite a report by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission earlier this year, which suggested that its proposed takeover of Virgin Radio, Richard Branson's station, would have been blocked. Virgin was eventually bought by Chris Evans, the DJ, backed by venture capitalists Apax.

In recent weeks, however, Capital has added to its radio stations, picking up Xfm, the alternative music station in London, and Red Dragon, the Cardiff- based music station. Although both acquisitions are subject to regulatory clearance, Mr Mansfield said he was confident they would go ahead, and stressed that the company has further "headroom" for growth in its radio business.

He said the company has been in discussions with the Government about its treatment of media industries. "We believe that progress is being made in creating a more favourable environment for the company's long term growth."