Emap set to create new television channel

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The Independent Online
Emap, the publishing and information group, is expected to announce within days the development of a new television channel called Magic. The venture signals the company's determination to expand its television interests.

Magic is defined as "a music channel for thirty-somethings", and will start broadcasting on cable television in the second quarter of next year.

Tim Schoonmaker, chief executive of Emap Radio, is overseeing the company's expansion into television. He said last night: "Magic will be more music, less chat. It will feature contemporary hits and acts whose appeal transcends the current singles charts."

Emap already owns a series of radio stations under the Magic banner, broadcasting to 6 million people in the North-east, the North-west and Yorkshire. Mr Schoonmaker said the Magic channel would transmit the same music to a similar audience, but across the country. The typical viewer would be a "32-year-old person with a family," he added.

Magic will use the same format as Emap's existing music video channel, The Box, which the company acquired last year. As a result, the investment in Magic will be minimal, as the infrastructure is already in place.

The Box is transmitted 24 hours a day via cable, and in the early hours via satellite on GSkyB, a joint venture between Granada and BSkyB. Emap said yesterday the channel was the most widely-viewed music channel in cable-only households.

The Magic venture follows news last month that Emap was considering creating television programmes based on some of its well-known magazine brands such as Just Seventeen, Max Power, and FHM.

Emap yesterday announced pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of September of pounds 64.5m, an increase of 27 per cent. That excluded a pounds 113.5m profit on disposals in the previous half year. The interim dividend rose 15 per cent to 4.95p.