ONdigital announces channel packages and launch date

28th September 1998

ONdigital announced that it is to launch its digital service on the 15th November, and also unveiled the package deals for its new service.

  • An exciting line up of channels - two price levels below £10 and real choice - pick your own
  • Any six Primary channels, chosen by the subscriber, for £7.99 a month - less than the price of a daily newspaper - with a free bonus shopping channel - Shop! - from Granada and Littlewoods.
  • New ONdigital channels include The Cartoon Network, Eurosport, Film Four, Manchester United TV, and Sky Sports 3
  • All live televised Premier League games
  • A completely new exclusive showcase service: First ONdigital
  • Next day support service, free including a new aerial if required
  • £90 million of marketing and consumer support in the first year
  • ONdigital: no dish, no cable, reception through your existing aerial. Means it is easy to install - and portable

ONdigital today gives freedom of choice to TV viewers. Its digital service will start transmissions on 15 November 1998, backed by £90 million of marketing and dealer support. And the whole system is easy - easy to buy, easy to set up, easy to select channels, easy to subscribe, easy to operate.

ONdigital will put its subscribers in the driving seat. For the first time, they will have a real choice. Before today, subscribers have only been able to pick from predetermined packages. ONdigital believes subscribers should be set free to make their own choice.

To help them, new subscribers will get all ONdigital Primary channels for £7.99 for three months, allowing them to evaluate everything that is on offer.

After the three months, they will have a choice of two options:

  • For £7.99 a month, they can choose any 6 channels from the Primary channels, and get Shop! as a bonus channel
  • For only £9.99 a month, they get the full range of Primary channels

The price of Premium channels will be:

  • For Sky Premiums: £11 per month for any one Sky Premium channel, £15 for two Sky Premium channels, £18 for three Sky Premium channels.
  • For MUTV: £5 per month
  • For Film Four: £6 per month

Stephen Grabiner, chief executive of ONdigital says:

"Until now, subscribers to multichannel TV have had to pick from other people's bundles. We've taken a positive approach. We believe the only people who should choose are subscribers. From today there is a choice. With ONdigital people will choose what they want."

ONdigital's channels will consist of the following:

Primary Channels - the pick of Britain's top TV

  • First ONdigital
  • UK Gold; UK Style/UK Horizons; UK Play
  • Sky One
  • Eurosport
  • The Cartoon Network
  • Carlton Kids/Carlton World; Carlton Select/Carlton Food Network; Carlton Cinema
  • Granada Breeze/Granada Men and Motor; Shop!
  • And the good news doesn't stop there. Nickelodeon and The Paramount Channel will join the ONdigital stable from January 2001.

Premium Channels - the top channels

  • Movies - Sky Premier; Sky Movie Max; Film Four
  • Sport - Sky Sports 1 plus Sky Sports 3 free (Sky Sports 3 is a bonus channel), bringing Premier League to ONdigital customers.
  • Manchester United TV

Free Channels - the most watched channels

ONdigital subscribers will have access to the following free channels:

  • ITV1, ITV2 (not available on satellite)
  • BBC One; BBC Two; BBC News24; BBC Choice (all BBC channels are included as part of your licence fee)
  • Channel 4
  • Channel 5
  • Digital Teletext


Press advertising will start from 28 September, with TV advertising in the key areas from early November. £90 million is budgeted for advertising and marketing expenditure over the next 12 months. 70 per cent of the country will be able to receive ONdigital's service at launch, rising to 90 per cent by the end of 1999.


Any customer who has difficulty receiving ONdigital will get a service call within 24 hours to sort it out, including, where necessary, the provision of a new aerial, all free of charge.

All customers will have their Postcode checked to see the quality of the signal they are likely to receive, before they buy a set-top box or a digital TV, or take out a subscription.