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Universal and ntl to launch film channel

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Universal Studios Networks has announced plans to launch a new basic rate film channel in the UK, in a 50/50 partnership with cable operator ntl. The channel will become the country's first contemporary library movie channel, showing films from a library of over 1000 recent Universal Studios movies at launch.

'The Studio' as the channel will be known, hopes to fill a previously unclaimed position in the UK market, being the only basic rate film channel not devoted to classic films. BSkyB will retain first run rights to Universal films, but they will later be shown on the new channel.

The channel will air for 18 hours per day, seven days per week, and will be made available to all platforms. The service will be launched within six months, at first primarily to ntl digital cable viewers as part of the entry level package.

The featured films will include hits such as Primary Colours, Babe, The Flintstones, True Lies, Leaving Las Vegas, and Shine. The movies will be packaged in 'thematic blocks' as the press release describes them, designed to appeal to a wide audience.

ntl's Group Managing Director of Media and Marketing, Steven Wagner said: "Universal is a natural partner for ntl and we hope that "The Studio" is just the start of that partnership. The channel dovetails well with our recent BSkyB deal and leverages the popularity of movies to encourage many more consumers to watch highly desirable content. The partnership enables ntl to offer customers a movie channel at entry level, and a way for us to grow our revenue per customer through multi-channel TV subscriptions. This Channel also brings us the opportunity to enhance ntl's revenue stream through promotion of our NVOD, pay-per-view and (in 2001) VOD services."

The channel will be managed by Universal Studios Networks UK, which also manages and operates the cable and satellite channel Sci-Fi. Managing Director, Janet Goldsmith commented:

"We are confident that this channel will have a significant impact in the UK market. Created by people with a unique understanding of film, The Studio offers exceptional value for movie-lovers. ntl has a strong track record in developing innovative packages and a forward-thinking approach to this market. We are delighted to be working in partnership with them."

This article is taken from our sister site, cablenews:uk

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