Scottish TV planning link with BSkyB

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The Independent Online
A new all-Scottish channel, featuring two hours of programming a day, is to be launched by Scottish Television, the ITV company, and BSkyB, Rupert Murdoch's satellite broadcaster, sources said last night.

The new service, dubbed Sky Scotland, could the precursor of a series of regional programming backed by BSkyB, including Sky Wales and Sky Ireland.

The concept would depend on the vastly increased capacity offered by digital television, which could mean up to 200 channels. Making available regional services would allow BSkyB to compete more effectively with local operators such as cable companies.

The Scottish service, to be broadcast initially on a low-coverage analogue satellite, will be announced on Thursday, with publication of STV's interim results. It is expected that it would also form part of BSkyB's digital service, expected by late 1997 or early 1998. The half-year profits are expected to show good growth.