SelecTV hits 'off' switch on stake in Channel 1

SELECTV, the USM-quoted television programme maker, has pulled out of its Channel One cable partnership with Associated Newspapers, writes Diane Coyle.

Associated will go it alone with the November launch of Channel One in London, following its successful franchise application in 1993. SelecTV had originally intended to hold a 20 per cent stake.

Associated yesterday signed a 10-year agreement with a consortium of cable companies that will carry the 24-hour news and entertainment station. It said Channel One would eventually be extended to other parts of the country.

SelecTV plans to set up its own cable station, the People's Channel. This is due to be launched across the country in January. Associated has an option to take a stake of up to 25 per cent.

Allan McKeown, SelecTV's chief executive, said Channel One now held less interest as the emphasis there had shifted towards news programming; SelecTV's strength is in comedy programmes such as Birds of a Feather. Mr McKeown said the People's Channel would cost pounds 6-7m to develop. Channel One's development costs are likely to exceed pounds 30m.

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