Black TV reaches out

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The Independent Online
'NICHE' television got a new recruit yesterday when Identity TV was launched. Billed as Britain's first black entertainment television channel, it promises to bring soaps, drama, comedy, music and magazine programmes to up to 500,000 Afro-Caribbean households in the London area, writes Anne Dixey.

The brainchild of its managing director, Petra Bernard, the British cable channel is backed by the United States-based giant Black Entertainment Television. It is using programmes made in the US and Caribbean but eventually hopes to put out mostly home-made material.

Identity TV is running in six-hour segments on five cable networks - Videotron, Telewest, Encom, Nynex and Cable London - which have teamed up as London Interconnect. It currently reaches 150,000 households and is aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at a black audience, although it also hopes to develop a more general entertainment and information network.

Another new launch, a cable and satellite channel UK Living, geared particularly at women, is expected to be launched in September but details of its format are not being revealed until later this week.

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