New Channel 5 boss Richard Desmond is promising to commit to keeping the channel a public service broadcaster and deliver a range of quality programmes.

Desmond has already pledged £50million purely for the use of investing in new programming which may include remaking classic seventies series The Sweeney.

One of the first orders of business was to revert back tot he channels original name, Channel 5, as opposed to Five.

“I’m committed to Channel 5 remaining a public ¬service broadcaster, which means it will ¬continue to have a prominent ¬position in the minds of viewers and ¬provide a range of high quality and diverse –programmes,” Mr Desmond said.

“We bought Five for one simple reason: Channel 5 is a great broadcaster.

“Led by Dawn [Airey], Five has shown enormous creative vision and ¬business acumen during the most difficult time imaginable for the ¬economy. But we can make Channel 5 even greater with careful nurturing under my ownership, with an enhanced ¬programme budget and with the -oxygen of marketing and publicity that will flow from being part of the Northern & Shell group.”

Mr Desmond has made of point of putting British programming at the top of his agenda.

“To me, content is always king, and that will continue and accelerate with this acquisition. Channel 5 has already got some terrific imports which we are very proud of, such as CSI, The Mentalist, Neighbours and Home And Away.

“But I’ve always believed in British talent, and we will actively pursue developing terrific home-grown ¬programming.”

Source: Express


Five today launches its new channel, Five HD, on Sky and Virgin Media.

The new channel will show the public service broadcaster’s schedule in high definition for the first time, including Five’s brand new live entertainment series, Don’t Stop Believing, hosted by Emma Bunton, which premieres on Sunday, 18th July.

Programmes that will feature in HD include the perennially popular Aussie soaps Neighbours and Home & Away; the best in American drama such as The Mentalist, Grey’s Anatomy, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; top flight sporting coverage such as Cricket on Five; and blockbuster movies including the terrestrial premiere of 300 starring Gerard Butler and a range Disney/Pixar animated classics, including Finding Nemo this Sunday.

Other content including Five’s daytime schedule will be ‘upscaled’ – giving viewers a better than ever experience of the channel’s content.

Upcoming highlights on Five HD will include live coverage of UEFA Europa League football from September.

Richard Woolfe, Five’s Channel Controller, said:

“So many of Five’s biggest programmes are shot in HD – such as our line-up of fantastic US dramas and our much-anticipated entertainment series Don’t Stop Believing – that it’s high time that audiences are able to enjoy their favourite programmes in the stunning picture quality that high definition offers. HD is the future of television and Five HD is a great addition to our portfolio of channels ”


The BBC Trust has today approved the BBC’s involvement in Project Canvas, subject to a number of conditions.

Project Canvas is a joint venture between the BBC and six other partners – Arqiva, BT, Channel 4, Five, ITV and Talk Talk – to develop and promote a common standard that will allow viewers with a broadband connection to watch on-demand services and other internet content as well as ordinary TV content, all through their television sets.

The Trust’s decision follows a rigorous and extensive period of consultation over the past year, including discussions with a range of industry stakeholders and four formal public consultations. The proposal has been considered in the context of its likely public value; whether it represents value for money; the interests and perspective of the licence fee payer; the market impact; the risk attached to the BBC’s participation in Canvas; and whether Canvas is likely to comply with the law and with BBC policies.

The Trust’s decision includes a number of conditions on the BBC’s involvement. These include:

Industry engagement: Completed elements of the Canvas core technical specification to be published within 20 working days from this final approval, and the Canvas partners to engage with industry on these and future elements of the technical specification. The final core technical specification will be published no later than eight months before launch of the first set-top boxes. The Trust will keep this process of engagement under review.

Free-to-air: Users will always be able to access Canvas free-to-air, though they may be charged for additional pay services that third parties might choose to provide via the Canvas platform, for example video on demand services, as well as the broadband subscription fees.

Accessibility and usability: Accessibility and usability features, such as audio description, should be incorporated into the core technical specification and/or user interface as soon as reasonably possible; and appropriate information and signposting should be provided for users to help them make informed choices about the suitability of content wherever possible.

Access to the platform for content providers and ISPs: Entry controls in terms of technical and content standards will be minimal, access will not be bundled with other products or services, listing on the electronic programme guide will be awarded in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner; and quality standards for ISPs delivering Canvas will be set at a minimum level and applied in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.

Legal compliance: Canvas will comply with all applicable laws including competition and state aid law.

Cost: The BBC’s involvement will not exceed the Executive’s estimated costs by more than 20 per cent over a five year period.

The full list of conditions can be found here.

BBC Trustee and Chair of the Trust’s Strategic Approvals Committee, Diane Coyle, said:

“The Trust has concluded that Project Canvas will deliver significant public value for licence fee payers – people with a broadband connection will be able to access a wide range of on-demand content including BBC iPlayer, free of charge, through their TV sets. We have however applied a number of conditions to the BBC’s involvement in the venture in recognition of the potential impacts on the market if Canvas is successful.”

The Trust will review the BBC’s involvement in Canvas against the conditions of its approval, twelve months after launch of Canvas to consumers.


This week on Five USA

Coming to Five USA this week is a double bill of electrifying UFC action. On Saturday night, ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Team Liddell v Team Ortiz’ sees a group of professional fighters compete for a lucrative UFC contract, while ‘UFC: Wired’ on Wednesday takes a look back at some of the greatest bouts in recent years.

Now in its 11th series, ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ sees a group of professional mixed martial artists move into a shared house to train and compete under the guidance of two prominent UFC coaches. This season, the two head coaches are UFC legends Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, each of whom has 22 professional fights under his belt. A former lightheavyweight champion, Liddell has a background in karate and kickboxing, and is widely credited for bringing UFC into the mainstream. Ortiz held the light-heavyweight crown for over three years, between 2000 and 2003.

Once separated into weight classifications and divided into two teams, the fighters compete in a series of bouts, with one loser being eliminated each week. At the end of a season, the two remaining fighters of each weight class go head to head in an elimination tournament, after which the title of Ultimate Fighter is awarded. Along with the prestige, the champion also wins a six-figure, multi-fight contract with the UFC.

This year, featured fighters include Rich Attonito, Seth Baczynski, Brent Cooper, James Hammortree, Court McGee, Norman Paraisy, Nick Ring, Lyle Steffens, Warren Thompson and Jamie Yager.

 ‘UFC: Wired’ is a hard-hitting journey back in time, exploring some of the greatest bouts ever held. The opening instalment of series two features four classic fights. The first is a light-heavyweight clash from UFC 84, featuring Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou of Cameroon and Kazuhiro Nakamura of Japan. Held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on 24 May, 2009, this explosive matchup lasted just one round.

Fight two is from the finale of ‘The Ultimate Fighter 5’. The classic lightweight bout saw rival coaches Jens Pulver and BJ Penn go head to head to settle a score. Next up is a middleweight bout from UFC 85, featuring Englishman Michael Bisping and Jason Day of Canada. Held at the O2 Arena in London, the clash saw Bisping make the most of the home advantage, finishing off the Canadian in under four minutes.

Also from UFC 85, the final clash this week features American Matt Hughes and Brazilian Thiago Alves from the catchweight division. This fierce battle lasted under two rounds and saw Alves awarded the ‘knockout of the night’ prize – and $50,000 – for his clinical dispatch of the American.


Wednesday 7 April 2010 at 8.00pm on Five

Concluding this week is the troubleshooting series that aims to transform struggling small businesses. In the final episode, Hilary Devey comes to the rescue of a haulage firm and a health spa. Despite their very different professions and locations, both sets of owners are keen to turn their enterprises around in this harsh economic climate.

No-nonsense, self-made millionaire Hilary Devey is facing one of her toughest challenges yet – to help save a selection of Britain’s floundering businesses. Each week she tackles two struggling outfits and transforms them by introducing some much-needed business sense. Hilary’s expertise and experience make her the ideal candidate to revolutionise failing businesses and teach their owners some invaluable skills.

The Business Inspector shows these aspiring tycoons how to improve their commercial knowhow, cash flow, marketing strategy and even – in some cases – their enthusiasm. Hilary is hoping to impart the skills essential for success, and in the process help a nation of entrepreneurs get its businesses shipshape and profitable. Can she make a difference where it really counts?

This week, Hilary is helping two businesses in two very different industries, both close to her heart – trucking and spa treatment. Having made her millions in the haulage business, Hilary likes nothing better than to pamper herself at a health spa. She is hoping that her passion and years of expertise will be enough to turn the two enterprises around.

Family man Harry runs a decades-old haulage business on the outskirts of Dartford. This is a racket with a lot of history – his grandfather started the family trade with a single horse and cart in the 1930s. Today, Harry’s business still supports his family, with his two sons and a granddaughter working alongside him. It is Harry’s hope that the younger generation will soon take the reigns from him so he can retire. However, due to the recession, trucks are standing stationary in the yard and this once thriving haulage firm is losing money. The Business Inspector wastes no time in rolling up her sleeves and getting to the root of the problem. Given Hilary’s proven track record as one of the most successful haulage entrepreneurs in the country, will the family heed her advice? Or will their pride come before a substantial fall in profits?

Hilary then travels all the way up to Yorkshire to visit Amaana Spa. Owner Saarah’s husband invested over £130,000 of his own money in the business three years ago in order to give Saarah “a focus”. Hilary discovers Saarah is a hands-off boss who needs to take control of her underperforming business. However, this timid country girl needs some of ballsy Hilary’s confidence to rub off if she is to have any chance of turning her salon around. Only time will tell whether she will receive the boost in revenue she so sorely needs.


Wednesday 31 March at 8.00pm

The Business Inspector (Series 1: 3/4) Continuing this week is the troubleshooting series that aims to transform struggling small businesses. In the third episode, Hilary Devey comes to the rescue of a pole-dancing fitness instructor and a dog lover. Despite their very different interests, both budding entrepreneurs dream of making a profit from their hobbies.

No-nonsense, self-made millionaire Hilary Devey is about to face one of her toughest challenges yet – helping to save a selection of Britain’s floundering businesses. Each week she will tackle two struggling outfits and transform them by introducing some much-needed business sense. Hilary’s expertise and experience make her the ideal candidate to revolutionise failing businesses and teach their owners some invaluable skills.

The Business Inspector will show these aspiring tycoons how to improve their commercial knowhow, cash flow, marketing strategy and even – in some cases – their enthusiasm. Hilary is hoping to impart the skills essential for success, and in the process help a nation of entrepreneurs get its businesses shipshape and profitable. Can she make a difference where it really counts?

This week, Hilary sets her sights on transforming two struggling businesses that are worlds apart. Pole-dancing fitness instructor Lou has sunk every spare penny into a new studio, but a lack of interest in her lessons means that she is not even able to take a wage. Meanwhile, dog-mad Nolene is trying to run a pet-grooming service from the garage of her semi.

Things get off to a bad start when Hilary cannot even find Lou’s studio. With no advertising, no web page and no telephone number listed, Lou’s business is all but invisible. It is small wonder she is failing to get people through the door. When Hilary finally locates Affinity Pole Fitness, she is horrified by the shambolic studio and the uninviting classes on offer. She soon finds herself locked in a battle of wills with feisty Lou. Despite the fact that she is struggling to support her young family after sinking every penny she has into her failing business, Lou still thinks that she knows better than Hilary.

Meanwhile, Nolene’s business is being kept afloat by handouts from her husband. Nolene runs Pooch Power dog-grooming service from the garage of her semi in a quiet Bournemouth suburb, and her profits so far stand at just £7,000. Hilary sneakily books in her own pooch to test out the wannabe entrepreneur’s talents. While she is pleased by Nolene’s grooming skills, she is less than impressed with her business sense. Nolene needs to start taking her hobby seriously – and stop dipping into her takings to buy takeaways – if she wants to turn it into hard cash.


Five and Sky today (WEDS) announced the launch this Summer of Five HD, a high definition version (HD) of Five which will show programming that has been made in high definition. Five HD will start broadcasting to more than 2 million Sky+HD homes in July.

The public service broadcaster’s line-up lends itself to transmission in HD with top-rating US dramas such as CSI and FlashForward, popular soaps including Neighbours and Home & Away, international cricket and live Europa League football, as well as blockbuster movies.

With the addition of Five HD, Sky customers will enjoy the largest range of HD programming across both for free-to-air and pay television.  With access to HD channels from all UK terrestrial broadcasters, and the widest variety of high-quality pay TV channels from Sky and other leading channel brands, Sky continues its commitment to offering homes the widest HD choice anywhere in the UK.

Five becomes the 42nd channel to commit to joining Sky’s HD line-up, following news that ITV 1HD, Sky News HD, Sky Sports HD 4 and Hallmark Channel HD are all to launch in the months ahead.   Sky is aiming to have 50 HD channels by Christmas.

Charles Constable, Five’s Director of Strategy, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Five. Our programme schedule is more suited to HD than that any other major free-to-air commercial broadcaster given the wide range of high quality series we broadcast, such as our top-rated line-up of US dramas.  We’re delighted to begin our HD journey with Sky.”

Hilary Perchard, Sky’s Director of Product Management, comments: “We’re delighted to announce the addition of Five HD to Sky+HD, the UK’s leading high definition service.  Sky remains committed to delivering customers the best HD service available, and this means continuing to launch high-quality channels right across the schedule.  With the best of free and pay TV now in HD, there’s never been a better time to embrace HD.”

As Europe’s most comprehensive HD service, 2.1 million Sky+HD homes can currently access up to 37 HD channels spanning entertainment, sports, movies, arts, drama, kids and documentaries, including channel brands such as Sky Sports, Sky Movies, FX, Discovery, Channel 4, Sky Arts, MTV, Nat Geo, ESPN, Disney, the BBC and Sky1.

Sky recently standardised its set-top strategy by automatically offering a Sky+HD box to anyone joining Sky TV, and all new and existing customers can receive the box for free when subscribing to the Sky+HD channel pack for the first time.  The Sky+HD box not only provides access to Europe’s most comprehensive HD service and Sky’s new HD electronic programme guide (EPG), but later this year it will also offer customers access to full broadband-enabled video-on-demand service and Sky 3D, Europe’s first 3D TV channel.  Sky intends to launch Sky 3D to pubs and clubs in April before reaching residential homes later this year.

Five (Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd) today responded to the provisional decision by the Competition Commission to vary ITV’s Contract Rights Renewal (CRR) undertakings.

Kelly Williams, Five’s Director of Sales, said:

“The competition authorities have spent the best part of two years deciding that CRR should remain in place when they could have used that time to conduct a wide-ranging review of the way the TV advertising market works and the many distortions that arise from it.

“Nevertheless we are disappointed that the Competition Commission has agreed to allow ITV HD and +1 services to be included in the CRR calculation. Until a much-needed market review is conducted, Five believes it is right to keep CRR in place.”

Ronan Keating has vowed to back Justin Lee Collins’ bid to enter the Eurovision Song Contest of 2010, it was announced today (FRI).

Five has commissioned Tiger Aspect to make two one-hour documentaries, Eurovision Song for Justin (wt) which follows Justin’s tour of Europe in his bid to be selected by any country as their Eurovision hopeful of 2010.  Only a handful of countries allow foreign performers to enter their own Search for a Song and we will track Justin’s efforts in Ireland, Spain, Romania, Latvia and Estonia.

Justin’s bid to become Ireland’s Eurovision entrant has been given a dramatic boost as, if he is selected, singer/songwriter Ronan Keating has promised to write the song himself.

Justin said: “I would be thrilled to represent Ireland in Eurovision and I would be proud to sing a song written by the hugely talented Ronan Keating.”

Justin’s Eurovision odyssey will include interviews with previous iconic performers, the British winners and losers and explore the history of the competition and examine all those still simmering hostilities between rival countries.

Five’s Head of Factual, Andrew O’Connell, said: “Justin absolutely loves Eurovision, so this is the perfect opportunity to indulge his passion.   He is ideal for this quirky, entertaining two-parter.  He is warm and interested and he can really sing.”

Eurovision Song For Justin (wt) is a Tiger Aspect production for Five.  The producer/director is Will Yapp and the producer is Nicky Taylor.

YouTube and Five have signed a major content deal which will make the broadcaster’s original full-length programmes available on-demand and free-of-charge via YouTube in the UK from today. Programming from Five can be found within YouTube’s recently announced UK Shows section, which brings together more than 3,000 hours of full-length programming and clips from its professional content partners at

Under the terms of the deal, Five will make its Demand Five video-on-demand catch-up service of new programmes available via YouTube shortly after television transmission, including popular series such as Neighbours, Home And Away, The Hotel Inspector and The Gadget Show. YouTube users will also be able to access around 250 hours of Five’s archive content.

The strategic partnership marks the second time a broadcaster anywhere in the world has made a comprehensive catch-up schedule available on YouTube. The first such deal, with Britain’s Channel 4, was announced in October.

The deal will expand the availability of Five’s content to YouTube’s 20 million UK users and provide the broadcaster with additional advertising inventory and reach, tapping into growing consumer demand to watch Five’s programming online. For example, in 2009 searches on Google for “neighbours on demand” were up 600 per cent.

All programmes will be available only in the UK, free-of-charge and supported by advertising. Five will have a branded presence on YouTube and its sales team will be able to sell both display and video advertising (typically pre-roll and mid-roll advertisements and sponsorship bumpers) around the content available on the site.

As well as making its content available, Five will use YouTube as a platform to engage with fans of some of its biggest shows. For instance, in the New Year UK residents will be able to audition via YouTube for a guest role on the popular Australian daily drama Neighbours. 

Five will also use YouTube’s industry-leading Content ID copyright system, allowing the broadcaster to automatically detect unauthorised user uploads that contain Five content and block or monetise these as it chooses.

The deal is non-exclusive, allowing Five to continue to distribute Demand Five content via its own websites including and other third party sites and services.

YouTube this week launched its first ever offline advertising campaign to promote its new UK Shows section of the site. The campaign is centred on the message “YouTube’s got TV” and includes bus sides, tube panels and full-page print ads, as well as online video pre-roll and display ads. In mid-December, YouTube will have an interactive installation in a shop front near Carnaby Street where passers-by will be able to choose content to watch.

Nikesh Arora, President, Global Sales Operations and Business Development for Google, YouTube’s owner, said:

“The past few weeks have been exciting for all of us who love British TV, and we’re delighted that our users can now find even more of their favourite programmes in YouTube’s new Shows section. This landmark partnership with Five places them at the forefront of the new opportunities around full-length content online, and their shows will see increased reach and revenues. This kind of agreement is great for consumers, who now have new safe and legal ways to watch the shows they love whenever they want.”

Dawn Airey, Chairman and Chief Executive of Five, said:

“This is a tremendously important deal for Five because in one fell swoop it extends the reach of our content beyond linear TV and our own existing websites to a new audience of younger, upwardly mobile and web-savvy individuals – an audience that advertisers are equally desirous of attracting. Importantly it extends the availability of legally available long-form content online thereby dealing a blow to web piracy.

“The partnership we are announcing today with YouTube is also a great example of how broadcasters can leverage the expertise of companies outside the field of TV in order to work together to take advantage of exciting new markets. Legitimate internet video operators are far from the ‘parasites’ that some have sought to portray them as in the past; on the contrary, they can be an important partner in helping modern day broadcasters reach new audiences and continue to fund high quality original content.”

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