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Virgin channels may go through BDB

Virgin Media Group, Richard Branson's radio, television and Internet offshoot, is in talks with British Digital Broadcasting (BDB) about securing distribution for its music and travel television channels, writes Cathy Newman.

David Campbell, chief executive of Virgin Media Group, said he hoped to sign distribution deals by the end of July. He added: "We want to get the best distribution we can, which may require talking to more than one party. We may well end up not only on digital terrestrial, but also on satellite and cable, and maybe even on analogue terrestrial."

Virgin Media Group was formed earlier this year. Following Capital Radio's pounds 64.7m bid for Virgin Radio Holdings, its radio operations are based mostly in Europe.

Virgin TV, which launches later this year, will consist initially of two main programming strands - music and travel. Mr Campbell would not be drawn on details of the service.

He said that Virgin Net, the company's Internet service provider, would be integrated into Virgin TV to enable users to watch a travel programme and then link to the Internet to buy holidays.

BDB, which was awarded the digital terrestrial licences last week, is jointly owned by Carlton and Granada. Competition authorities forced BSkyB to drop its equity stake in the venture, but the satellite operator negotiated a long-term programming deal.