GMTV finding way onto BSkyB
Breakfast television station GMTV may be close to agreeing a deal with BSkyB for carriage over its digital satellite network – and extending its broadcasting hours in digital homes. The channel, which broadcasts as part of the ITV Network between 06:00 and 09:25 daily, is looking to commence transmissions to Sky Digital homes in April – some 10 months earlier than the ITV Network’s publicly stated plans. The interesting aspect of this prospective deal is that three ITV companies control GMTV. Two of them are the network- dominating Carlton Communications and Granada Media, but the third, smaller ITV company is Scottish Media Group, which has been one of the more overtly partisan ITV companies towards the UK’s only DTH broadcaster. Under the recently published Government Communications White Paper, ITV companies will be obliged to permit their channels to be available on Sky’s platform, on a public service remit, although Interspace estimates that by the time the legislation is through ITV will have already made the transition to DTH transmission. A spokesman for BSkyB declined to comment, although he refused to rule out the possibility that GMTV would soon get its DTH debut, whilst there was no one at GMTV able to comment on the possible deal. Sources close to the two companies believe that the reluctance to comment is due to the early stages of negotiation.