BT turns to Bob the Builder to fix its broadband TV launch

HIT Entertainment, cartoons and wildlife shows in three-pronged attack
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The Independent Online

BT has signed up the children's TV favourite Bob the Builder for its new television service, which is launching this autumn. It will announce tomorrow that three more content partners will offer their programmes for the video-on-demand service.

These partners are HIT Entertainment, which owns rights not only to Bob the Builder but to the children's characters Pingu and Thomas the Tank Engine; the children's entertainment company Nelvana, which has the rights to the cartoon Max and Ruby; and the factual National Geographic Channel. All have signed deals with BT.

"BT TV" will allow customers to watch digital television channels and archived programmes on demand via an adapted Freeview box connected to BT broadbrand.

BT has already signed content deals with BBC Worldwide, Paramount and Warner Music Group.

Dan Marks, chief executive of BT television services, said: "Any service of this kind is only as good as the content it offers, which is why we have signed these entertainment deals."

BT, which will begin trialling the service this summer, is looking for new ways to make money as fewer people use fixed-line phones, its traditional source of revenue. It hopes the television venture will encourage the take-up of its broadband service, which at present has 1.7 million customers.

Users will access the on-demand service by paying either per programme viewed or through a subscription.