Multi channel television for all

24th June 1997

British Digital Broadcasting today welcomed the decision by the Independent Television Commission to award the company three digital terrestrial television licences.

Michael Green, Chairman of British Digital Broadcasting, said:

This is a great day for British Television. Digital means more choice for viewers. You will be able to receive extra free and subscription television channels through your existing aerial and television. No dish. No cable.
Viewers can look forward to an exciting line up of channels, including at least 15 from British Digital Broadcasting, all with better pictures and better sound. We have an excellent team in place and planning is well underway. We launch next year.
For British television, going digital ranks alongside the change from black-and-white to colour. This announcement will put Britain at the head of the worldwide digital television revolution.

British Digital Broadcasting will launch at least 15 television channels in the second half of next year. Viewers will be able to receive some 30 digital channels in total, through their existing aerials. All they will need is a simple set-top box that plugs into their existing television set and aerial socket. The current terrestrial channels - BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 - will broadcast their existing services and offer additional channels, including a free 24 hour news service from the BBC.

British Digital Broadcasting brings together the leading forces in UK television production and broadcasting - Carlton, Granada and the BBC - with the world's leading satellite pay television operator, BSkyB.

When first established, British Digital Broadcasting was owned equally by Carlton, Granada and BSkyB. BSkyB is no longer a shareholder and will transfer its shares in equal part to Carlton and Granada who will each own 50 per cent of the company. BSkyB will continue to supply the basic and Premium channels as set out in British Digital Broadcasting's application to the Independent Television Commission.

British Digital Broadcasting will be offering at least 15 exciting channels; some will be newly created, like Carlton Films, Granada Sports Club and channels from the BBC/Flextech joint venture, while others, such as Sky Sports and Sky Screen One, have so far been unavailable through a standard aerial.

Twelve channels will be offered as a basic subscription package, with three extra Premium channels. The channels will give viewers more choice than ever before, with top movies from Hollywood and around the world, big sports events, the best of British drama, entertainment, comedy, children's and factual programmes, together with sport, art, music, nature, science, food, lifestyle programmes, education and current affairs.