Telewest threat to Carlton's cable plans

MATHEW HORSMAN

Media Editor

Ambitious plans by Carlton to expand into the pay-TV cable market have been thrown into confusion following disagreements with Britain's largest cable operator.

In a surprise move, Telewest, which supplies 400,000 cable subscribers, has demanded fresh terms before agreeing a firm contract to distribute Carlton's SelecTV cable channel, bought last week for pounds 5.2m.

Wide distribution of the channel - which will feature programming from the back library of Carlton and its sister company Central - is seen as key to the company's plans to become a leading broadcaster of pay-TV services.

Carlton, whose chief executive is Michael Green, said last week it had inherited iron-clad agreements for distribution on cable well into the future. The SelecTV channel was launched in June, but it emerged yesterday that SelecTV and Telewest had only reached heads of agreement on carriage terms.

The negotiations to reach a full contract had been halted while Pearson, the media and publishing company, completed its pounds 45m purchase of SelecTV. As part of that deal, finalised last week, Carlton bought the cable channel.

Telewest declined to comment, but a source close to the company said yesterday that it is demanding lower charges and more hours of programmes in exchange for the firm contract.

It is believed that Telewest is paying SelecTV 25p per subscriber per month for seven hours of programmes on weekdays and 12 hours at weekends. The schedule includes repeats of hit programmes such as Lovejoy and Birds of a Feather.

Fees from Telewest are currently worth about pounds 1.2m a year. Carlton has secured distribution agreements with other cable operators which cover an additional 500,000 subscribers and which are worth about pounds 1.5m a year.

Telewest is believed to be seeking assurances that Carlton will extend SelectTV's broadcasting day, perhaps to 17 hours. It also wants to pay less per subscriber - as little as 15p, for subscription revenues of about pounds 720,000 a year.

Carlton declined to comment on the talks with Telewest. The company is expected to seek additional distribution agreements with satellite broadcasters within two years, and hopes eventually to reach five million households.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones