Energis joins Graham in interactive venture

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The Independent Online

Energis, the telecoms operator, yesterday unveiled a move into interactive television and e-tailing services, forming a joint venture with Graham Technology, a Scotland-based software company.

Energis, the telecoms operator, yesterday unveiled a move into interactive television and e-tailing services, forming a joint venture with Graham Technology, a Scotland-based software company.

The companies said their service would initially offer corporate clients the ability to distribute their own interactive programming via satellite TV.

Graham will provide the software for the venture, with Energis supplying the broadband networks linking client offices to base stations. It is envisaged that companies buying in the service will be able to deliver their programming over digital TV and, in future, personal computers and the internet.

Start-up costs have been pegged at £3m. The joint venture, which has yet to be named, will be controlled by Energis.

Analysts said the development, although modest, was positive. "As we move more into an IT world... this is the kind of thing we are going to see more of," one said.

Clients will also be able to buy in data-storage services from Energis and tap into a distribution network provided by Zendor.com, a former mail-order business jointly controlled by N Brown Group, a Manchester-based home-shopping business, and GE Capital Global Consumer Finance UK.

The venture is the latest move by Energis to expand beyond its core telecoms operations, which largely run along National Grid's pylon network.

Mike Grabiner, Energis chief executive, said: "This ... broadens the channels to market for business customers, positions us in one of the fast-growing areas of the interactive marketplace and adds another dimension to our ability to provide integrated services."

Energis shares yesterday fell 22p to 485p amid a sector sell-off.

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