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The Independent Online
'Yoof' target for new cable channel

A new cable channel aimed at the 12-20 age demographic will be unveiled today at an industry launch in trendy Soho, London. 'Brand X' TV, the brainchild of Kudos, the independent production company and Rocketscience, the media buyers, will target a "yoof" audience with educational and entertainment programming, backed by niche advertisers such as Nike, the footwear company. The channel will join an increasingly crowded pay-TV spectrum vying for a still-small number of viewers.

Digital standards

The digital working group sponsored by the BBC and Sony is talking to at least three media companies interested in helping to develop a standard for digital terrestrial television, planned for launch sometime later this decade. It is understood that Viacom, owners of the music video service MTV, one of Britain's successful pay-TV channels, is among them.

Sky's new horizons

BSkyB's dominance of the pay-TV market continues, with the launch this week of seven new channels - all available on BSkyB's satellite service. Among the likely successes are the Playboy Channel, raunchy enough to have convinced church-run investment funds to bail out of BSkyB stock, and Sci-Fi TV, the all-science fiction speciality service.

Cable companies will carry the channels, too, but they have failed thus far to offer much in the way of cable-exclusive programming likely to wean them from reliance on Murdoch-controlled Sky.

Sharing the costs

Moves to combat the cost advantages of the Murdoch-controlled press may be gathering speed. Eager to benefit from the same cost savings that News International has managed to find by pooling back-office, production and other activities at Mr Murdoch's five national titles, other newspaper groups are talking about co-operating more closely.

It could be that Mirror Group, Associated, United and other national publishers could set up common facilities to help to slash operating bills and to weather the Murdoch-inspired price war. Don't expect much co-operation on the editorial front, of course. Fleet Street will still battle for readers and advertisers in the time-honoured, gloves-off fashion.