Flextech close to BSkyB supply deal

British Sky Broadcasting, the satellite television group, is close to a deal with Flextech, the programme provider, to carry Flextech's channels on BSkyB's digital satellite service when it launches in June.

Discussions have been taking place this week between Mark Booth, BSkyB's chief executive, and Roger Luard, his counterpart at Flextech. Sources close to the discussions think a deal could be signed within the next few weeks. BSkyB and Flextech both refused to comment.

A deal with Flextech would give BSkyB access to a number of channels based on BBC programmes. Flextech has an exclusive 30-year joint venture to package programmes from the BBC as commercial television channels for broadcast via cable and satellite.

The venture, known as UKTV, currently supplies UK Gold, a channel based on old BBC comedies and soap operas, to BSkyB's existing satellite service. Another three channels - UK Arena, UK Horizons and UK Style - are currently available via cable.

Under the terms of the deal, however, BSkyB would make all four channels available to subscribers to its digital service. Viewers would also have access to Flextech's other channels, including Bravo and Living, which are already available via BSkyB's existing service.

UKTV is also planning to launch another four channels, including a music package and a sports entertainment offering, all of which would be made available to BSkyB digital subscribers.

The deal will provide a boost to both BSkyB and Flextech. BSkyB needs to offer a good range of programmes when it launches its 200-channel digital service in June. Although it already plans to offer premium sports and movie channels, its current offering is short on basic channels which do not require extra payment. Meanwhile, Flextech needs access to as many digital television viewers as it can reach.

The move is likely to give BSkyB the necessary credibility to attract other programme packagers from other suppliers.

Flextech has already agreed to supply a package of four channels including UK Gold and UK Horizons to British Digital Broadcasting, the joint venture between Granada and Carlton which is planning to launch in the autumn.

Previous discussions between BSkyB and Flextech are thought to have foundered on the issue of price. In the meantime, Flextech has been exploring other options to get access to British viewers. These included exploring launching its own package of programmes, which would be marketed separately. The company also suggested a deal which would see it mount a reverse takeover of BDB, thereby giving it an equity stake in the broadcaster and providing BDB with a stock market listing.

However, the deal would make those moves unnecessary. It is also likely to be enthusiastically received by shareholders in both companies. Flextech shares ended the day up 21p at 525p, while BSkyB shares put on 3p to 393p. Both companies' share prices have been under pressure recently as investors fretted about the prospects for digital television.

Meanwhile Castle Transmission International (CTI), the company which handles television transmission for the BBC and a number of radio and mobile phone groups, yesterday said it planned to invest pounds 100m in broadcasting capacity after it was confirmed as the supplier of the BBC's Digital Terrestrial Television service.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
music
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

Marketing Manager

£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

Market Risk Manager - Investment Banking - Mandarin Speaker

£45,000 - £65,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is a well-known APAC Corporate and...

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"