Plan to rival MTV dropped

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Plans by five of the world's biggest music companies, including Thorn EMI in the UK, to launch a rival music-video channel to MTV in America and Puerto Rico have been dropped.

A spokesman for EMI said yesterday that the partnership, which also included Sony, Warner Music, Polygram and BMG Entertainment, started to break up irretrievably a couple of months ago. One of the biggest problems was trying to sign up cable companies, many of which did not have enough capacity to cope with another 24-hour music service. Being able to broadcast across the US was of paramount importance.

Internal difficulties at Time Warner, owner of Warner Music, are also said to have a bearing on the breakdown.

There was also a chance that the US Justice Department would stop the record companies launching a rival station on anti-competitive grounds. MTV had lobbied the authorities hard to outlaw the move.

MTV has been smoothing over other spats outside the US with the record producers which, it has claimed, have been overcharging for the rights to broadcast their videos.

A legal action by MTV against Thorn EMI in the UK has been dropped following the signing of a world-wide licensing agreement between the two companies.