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Virgin Media Television
VmtvLogo.png
Type Broadcast television
Country United Kingdom
Availability National; also available in Ireland, selected international countries, also distributed in certain other European countries
Founded 1991
Market share 7.5% (including UKTV and Sit-Up TV channels)
Owner Virgin Media Inc
Key people Jonathan Webb, Executive Director of Virgin Media Television
James Wildman, Managing Director of ids
Julia Jordan, Executive Director of Business Strategy at UKTV
Catrin Jones, Production Associate
Launch date 8 February 2007
Former names United Artists Ltd,
Flextech
Official Website virginmediatv.co.uk

Virgin Media Television (formerly two companies, Flextech Television and NTL) is the content subsidiary of Virgin Media. It is a British television company which is owned entirely by the United Kingdom based cable company Virgin Media, previously known as NTL:Telewest and acts as its television programme production arm.

Contents

Overview

Virgin Media Television has a number of wholly-owned channels, available in the United Kingdom and Ireland on Digital terrestrial television, Satellite television and Cable television platforms. Additionally, Virgin Media Television has a 50% share in UKTV with BBC Worldwide, which operates nine general entertainment and factual channels making up one of the United Kingdom's largest television companies. Minotaur International, is a subsidy of Virgin Media Television which is responsible for international sales of most programmes commissioned by the network.[1] Virgin Media Television also handles its own advertising for all of its channels through the companies interactive digital sales or ids.[2]

History

The first incarnation of Virgin Media Television was as United Artists Programming Ltd, a division of Croydon-Based United Artists Cable. As part of the formation of Telewest, it was the subject of a management buy-out and was re-purchased by the then much enlarged Telewest Communications in 2000, being re-named Flextech.

On February 8, 2007, Flextech was renamed Virgin Media Television as part of a larger re-branding exercise covering the whole of NTL:Telewest, Virgin Mobile and Virgin.net.

In 2007 Virgin Media launched an on-demand service known as Virgin Central. The service has as of 2007 gained the rights to begin showing episodes of the television show Lost, currently shown on Sky1, and other shows including Alias and The OC. This service extends the on-demand service previously known as Teleport TV on Telewest. Teleport TV remains available, offering recently-broadcast shows and other shows and series.

In 2008, there have been takeover rumours that another company will buy Virgin Media's television channels. One of the companies interested are NBC Universal, who currently own the Sci Fi channel, and KidsCo soon to be launched in the UK. No official statement was released. Other bidders could include BSkyB, ITV and Five owner RTL.[3]

On 1 April 2009 it was announced that Sit-up Ltd had been sold by Virgin Media to AURELIUS AG. The purchase price or terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.[4][5]

On 7 April 2009, Virgin Media formally began the sale of its content operation, issuing a sales memorandum for its Virgin Media Television unit plus ad sales house IDS. It has excluded its 50% stake in UKTV from the sale.[6]

Virgin Media Television Channels

Virgin Media Television directly operates eight linear television channels, after the launch of Setanta Sports News. Most of the channels were formed in the Flextech years. Additionally VMT operates a video-on-demand channel and a number of time shifted channels. All channels are available on Satellite and Cable television services, with the exception of Virgin Central which is exclusive to cable. Their flagship channel, Virgin1, is also available on Freeview is on 24 hours.

There is the possibility of a rolling news channel in the pipeline, which would add to the credibility of the network after the sale of their business news channel, this will add to the portfolio.[7]

Channels

Virgin1

Virgin1, the new flagship and general entertainment channel from Virgin Media Television, launched on 1 October 2007 and replaced Ftn on all platforms. Virgin1+1 is also available on Virgin and Sky. Some media sources have claimed that the channel is intended to be Virgin Media's attempt to create a rival to Sky1 with the advantage of having a wider reach of viewers. The channel initially had a £40 million budget as well as being funded through advertising revenue. Programming on the channel includes acquisitions such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Chuck, The Riches and The Unit along with commissions such as Caribbean Cops and Take Me To The Edge.

Virgin Central

Virgin Central is a TV channel launched on the Virgin Media platform on 20 February 2007. It is based on the video-on-demand system.[8] The service was launched on the Virgin Media platform on 20 February 2007.[8] Viewers press the red button on their remote controls and are presented with a list of television series, episodes of which they can watch at any time they like during the week[8]. The programmes are all free to watch, and do not have any adverts in them. The viewer can also use their remote control to pause, fast forward, rewind and stop the programme at any time[8]. The service currently features shows from distributors such as the BBC, Buena Vista and Alliance Atlantis.[9]

Living

Living and Living +1, formerly affiliated with UK Gold as UK Living and then known as LIVINGtv. It is the main channel from Virgin Media Television and usually has the highest ratings, recently better than that of Sky1 which strengthens its bid to become "the 6th Channel". It originally launched in 1993 as UK Living, but the channel later changed its name to Living in 1997, to disassociate itself from the UKTV network that launched that year. In a bid to appeal to a more male audience, the pink colour scheme was dropped and new types of programming came to the channel, but at the same time not losing its female audience. Shows include the likes of the CSI franchise, Close to Home and Boston Legal, the channel is now broadening its audience reach to other key demographics such as men aged 18–45. The most watched shows on Living are Ghost Whisperer, America's Next Top Model, Grey's Anatomy and Most Haunted Live!. Living in 2006 launched a specific version of the channel for the Republic of Ireland. Available on Sky Digital, Magnet Networks, SCTV and UPC. The channel airs specific advertising for the region. Living have also used outdoor advertising within the country.

Livingit and Livingit +1 is the sister channel of Living which was launched on 13 December 2004. The channel mainly shows highlights of programming from Living, along with extended coverage of its reality programmes, such as I'm Famous and Frightened Extra! and Most Haunted Live!. However, the channel has gained the American Reality TV Show, the Amazing Race. The channel also shows more lifestyle and health related programmes than Living such as, Baby ER, Birth Stories, Downsize Me and Wedding SOS. There is also a programming slot called Baby Zone, in which programmes related to pregnancy and birth are shown.

Bravo

Bravo was launched in 1985. The channel also has a one hour timeshift named Bravo +1. The channel mainly broadcasts a multitude of exclusive crime documentaries and factual entertainment both from a variety of archive programming, such as Knight Rider and MacGyver, and original productions.[10] Its target audience is currently men in their late twenties to early forties. On 28 August 2005, the channel started showing Serie A Italian football, bringing back the Channel 4 format Football Italia. However, poor viewing figures saw Bravo cancel first the weekly Gazetta Football Italia show, then announce it would stop showing Italian Football altogether after 23 December 2006. The network airs an Adult Swim block nightly at around midnight. Recently the channel has acquired rights to show Blade: The Series and The Kill Point.

Bravo 2, formerly called Player, launched on 2 March 2006. It originally replaced the Player late night slot on Challenge. On 28 September 2006, Player relaunched as Bravo 2 and became a sister channel of Bravo. The channel's content consists of gambling and sports programmes. The ident for Player was the same as that of the original slot. Recently, as Player, Bravo 2 added exclusive coverage of the FIA GT Championship to its portfolio of sports events. The channel also carries a limited amount of Serie A matches under the production of Bravo. From January 2007 Bravo 2 started broadcasting Total Nonstop Action Wrestling programming and is the only channel in the UK which has the exclusive rights for TNA Wrestling Programming which consists of a two day delay for the American broadcast TNA weekly show "TNA Impact!" and a three day delay for the TNA Monthly Pay Per Views.[11] Bravo's contract with TNA Wrestling Programming is an 18 month contract and was distributed by RDA TV.[12]

Challenge

Challenge and Challenge+1, launched as The Family Channel on 1 September 1993 as a family orientated channel but relaunched as Challenge in February 1997. The station relies heavily on game shows taken from a variety of sources although most are repeats of programmes acquired from the terrestrial channels' archives. The channel also has interactive features for digital cable and satellite viewers watching certain shows, enabling them to play along at home. Challenge now broadcasts 24 hours a day. In its early years, it timeshared with The Children's Channel and then later with TV Travel Shop. During this, Challenge would begin at 5pm and run until around midnight, with a teleshopping service filling up the early hours when both them and either TCC or TV Travel Shop weren't broadcasting. The main slogan of the channel is 'Saturday night, every night'.[13]

Challenge Jackpot

Challenge Jackpot launched on 1 July 2008 as a 24 hour interactive gaming channel, run in collaboration with Two Way Media. It is available on Virgin Media cable & Sky Digital but is also available on Freeview via Virgin 1 and Bravo 2 simulcasts overnight. On cable, an interactive application developed by Two Way Media that enables viewers to play along with live programming on the channel; alternatively, viewers may participate on the channel's website.[14] It shows Face Up Hold 'Em, Get Set Roulette, Hot Shot Keno and Roulette Nation gambling programmes with presenters such as Jeff Brazier.

Defunct channels

Flextech used to be interested in different markets from its current demographics which focus on an older age group. But in an attempt to streamline the business that was at the time suffering from falling ratings across these channels they were made defunct.

Setanta Sports News

Setanta Sports News was a joint venture channel from Virgin Media Television and Setanta Sports.[15] Following many delays the channel launched on 29 November 2007.[16] The channel was available exclusively to Virgin Media customers. The channel was seen as Virgin Media's rival to Sky Sports News which was removed from their platform on 1 March 2007 as their contract with BSkyB had ended.

The channel ceased broadcasting on 23 June 2009, the same day that Setanta Sports was placed into administration.[17]

Trouble

Trouble launched on 3 February 1997. It fully replaced The Children's Channel from 4 April 1998, prior to the start of Sky Digital. Trouble had a key demographic of young adults and teenagers, aged between 15-24. The channel showed a lot of American and Australian imports, with only a small margin of programs being British, although a website was launched called Trouble Homegrown that showcases British videos.[18] The channel had success, with acquisitions such as My Wife and Kids, One On One, Grounded for Life, Summerland, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, That '70s Show and How I Met Your Mother to name a few. It also showed some dramas such as Life As We Know It and The Secret Life of Us. The channel underwent a rebrand in mid-2006, with the number placement of the channel changing on Sky Digital from 607 in 'Kids' to 201 in 'Entertainment' as a move to make it seem more teenage orientated. Later the channel moved on Sky Digital again to channel 172. Trouble's one hour timeshift channel named Trouble +1 (formerly Trouble Reload) closed on 5 February 2009 to make way for the launch of Living2 +1 (now known as Livingit+1). Trouble then followed Trouble +1 and closed as of 1 April 2009. As of 2009, Virgin Media has no plans of a replacement for Trouble & TCC.

Trouble +1

Trouble's one hour timeshift channel named Trouble +1 (formerly Trouble Reload) closed on 5 February 2009 to make way for the launch of Living2 +1.

Ftn

Ftn (or Flextech Television Network) is the only wholly owned channel that has been closed down by the new VMT. The channel rebranded as Virgin1 on 1 October 2007.

The Children's Channel

The Children's Channel closed down on 3 April 1998 as its last form TCC. It was available in Europe from the Astra 1A satellite. Even though the actual channel closed down 10 years ago, the website was still available as late as Autumn 2005, though significantly cut down from when the channel still broadcast, but has since become inaccessible. Despite being replaced with Trouble, it is largely cited in UK animation circles that Jetix UK (formerly Fox Kids UK and now known as Disney XD) is the spiritual successor of TCC in spite there being no relation in terms of companies or shows aired on either channels between the two. This is because Trouble is aimed at a slightly older audience than The Children's Channel, and also because both TCC and Fox Kids have broadcast the Dennis and Gnasher 1996 cartoon.

SceneOne

SceneOne was a general entertainment website and television channel which was closed down under Flextech management after disappointing reach and a lack of revenue[19]. The website was set up in February 1999, and following an announcement in March 2002, was shut on 4 April 2002.[20] The site's coverage spanned cinema, TV, radio, music, concerts, theatre, comedy, online, books and videos. The television channel was announced in 1999 and launched in June 2000 but was closed in March 2001. It was accessible to subscribers of Telewest cable television. There was speculation that the closure was due to low viewing figures and the failure to gain carriage on Sky Digital, although this was denied by the general manager of SceneOne.[21] The channel broadcast for 24 hours a day, and showed entertainment news and reviews on similar genres to the web site.

European Business News

European Business News was a business news channel which broadcast throughout Europe in partnership with Dow Jones.[22] It broadcast between 6am and 12noon on satellite, timesharing with Bravo, and 24 hours a day on cable. On 9 December 1998, the channel announced that it would be merging with the CNBC Europe news channel. The merger took place in February 1998, upon which the channel then became known officially as "CNBC Europe - A Service of NBC and Dow Jones". Flextech left all of its interests in the channel and then decided to focus on entertainment rather than news. Since the merger CNBC Europe has leaned generally on the US CNBC on-air graphical look.

Future channels

Virgin Media are rumoured to be thinking about launching a general news channel. ITN is expected to supply the news, the same company that used to supply the now-defunct 24-hour ITV News Channel, which the commercial broadcaster ditched in late 2005 to make way for ITV4 and children's television channel CITV. It already has several deals in place with Virgin Media supplying Virginmedia.com's news content. ITN also had a mobile channel, ITN News, on the BT Movie service on Virgin Mobile. A news executive said that expanding its contracts base was a key priority for ITN in the future. The reality is that ITN relies on ITV News and Channel 4 News. ITN is keen to try and diversify and to attract other news contracts.[23]

Subsidiary Companies

UKTV

UKTV is a joint venture between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and Virgin Media Television. UKTV is one of the United Kingdom's largest television companies.[24] UKTV's channels are available via satellite and cable in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. In the UK, on digital terrestrial television, Yesterday and Dave are available on the Freeview platform, and selected parts of G.O.L.D., Home and Good Food are available through Top Up TV. From 2008 UKTV are considering airing localised versions of their channels in the Republic of Ireland market featuring local advertisements and sponsorship. They are also now considering HD versions of their channels in 2009, and have recently rebranded all of their channels, removing 'UKTV' from their names. The logo on the UKTV branded channels has also now been replaced by a new design, shown on the right.

Watch is currently the flagship channel operated by the network. It is a general entertainment channel from UKTV that launched on 7 October 2008. Programmes like Total Wipeout USA and Torchwood are aired. The official 'mascot' is Blinky the eyeball, who is seen on the idents, logo and website.

G.O.L.D. is the comedy channel operated by the network and usually has an audience share higher than that of Sky1. UK Gold launched on 1 November 1992 as a joint venture between Thames Television and the BBC to show reruns of their classics archive programming, UKTV Gold and its sister stations are now part of the UKTV network, owned jointly by Virgin Media Television and the BBC. The output of the channel is mainly British comedy programmes and sometimes feature length films. These are a combination of internally produced shows and repeats of shows from the BBC and ITV archive. Although in recent years original programmes have aired on the channel and the US version of Dancing with the Stars has had its first UK airing on the channel. But in doing with this the channel has been criticised by some, for featuring many recent programmes as opposed to classics as was the original concept, with some shows appearing on the channel mere months or weeks after their first television broadcast. It was rebranded to G.O.L.D. in October 2008 as a comedy channel

Home was launched on 1 November 1997 with the main output focused on home improvements, DIY shows and Gardening Programmes that are a combination of internally produced shows and repeats of shows mainly from the BBC archive. Before the launch of Good Food (then known as UKTV Food), it also showed many cookery programmes, however these now all reside on the channel Good Food. It is one of the key UKTV channels, and is very well known.

Blighty launched as UKTV People on 8 March 2004, replacing UK Horizons, which closed the day before. The output of Blighty is some factual programming of a lighter nature, such as Top Gear and docusoaps like Airport, and from February 2009, "British" shows like "My Brilliant Britain". However, the majority of the channel's programming is abridged by the BBC for commercial timing purposes, a policy that some critics consider hypocritical. The channel is available on Sky Digital and Virgin Media. However, it is not available on Freeview, despite the majority of the programmes being made by the BBC.

Eden and Eden +1 (formerly UKTV Documentary and +1) was launched on 8 March 2004, and focuses on documentaries like Planet Earth.It is on Sky Digital, Virgin Media and Tiscali TV, but not Freeview or Freesat. Its slogan is One amazing world, one amazing channel, and the logo is swirled in a circle. The unveiling of the Eden rebrand was 9 October 2008 but the actual relaunch was 26 January 2009.

Really launched on 19 May 2009. The channel focuses entirely on Reality and Lifestyle shows, which were previously broadcast on UKTV Style (Now `Home`). In February 2005, UKTV Style Gardens was launched moving all gardening content from UKTV Style to the new channel. It lost recognition to UKTV Style in early 2007 when it adopted the more generic name UKTV Gardens, It is now closed, and Really is in its place. It is available on Sky Digital and Virgin Media. The Idents are a pop art comic design, with 4 idents, Changing Room, Cafe, Surgeon and Park Bench. The channel doesn't have a timeshift, nor does Blighty.

Dave is the newest channel launched by UKTV, on 15 October 2007, and the first without the UKTV or any UK branding. It was announced in September 2007, that UKTV G2 would relaunch and be renamed to Dave.[25]. UKTV said the name of the channel was chosen because "everyone knows a bloke called Dave".[26] The rebrand included the channel being available free-to-air on digital terrestrial platform, Freeview, replacing UKTV Bright Ideas which only averaged 0.1% of the audience share.[27] The move to Freeview saw Dave launch in the bandwidth previously used by Yesterday (Previously known as UKTV History) which now uses the time limited (07:00-18:00) bandwidth once occupied by UKTV Bright Ideas. Dave is available daily, from 7 am to 3 am, on all platforms. It calls itself "the home of witty banter" and now uses Ralph Ineson and Phill Jupitus as announcers.

Alibi is another channel operated by UKTV and as the name suggests its main focus is on showing crime dramas mainly from the BBC and ITV archives. Originally launched as UK Arena on 1 November 1997, as an arts channel, it was renamed as UK Drama in 2000 and so shifted its focus on dramas after some disappointing initial ratings. On 2 May 2006, a new timeshift service called UKTV Drama +1 was launched, to replace UKTV People's timeshift channel. It has now renamed Alibi in October 2008 and is now fully focused on crime dramas, with a murder theme and a 'gripping' logo design appearing on-screen from October 2008. The logo has 3 colour variations and a fresh set of idents. It is on Sky Digital and Virgin Media.

Yesterday is the history channel from the UKTV network. Previously known as UKTV History until 2 March 2009, it launched on 30 October 2002, to coincide with the launch of Freeview. Yesterday's main focus are on programmes with historical topics and biographies, as is to be expected, nature and wildlife and some historical fiction, often from the BBC archives. Hours were reduced on the Freeview platform when Dave launched, meaning that now it operates on terrestrial between 7am and 6pm. The Sky Digital and Virgin Media versions' hours are still as they were.

Good Food launched on 5 November 2001 and broadcasts a range of food and cookery programmes, similar to that of the content of BBC Worldwide's BBC Food service. Initially most of the channels output was aired on Home until Good Food was introduced. The Good Food website originally devised and launched by Ian Fenn and Ally Branley provides a number of services including information on programmes shown on the channel, recipes, message boards, and a wine club. Recipes come from the various shows on Good Food and some include videos taken from the demonstrations. In September 2006 Good Food's website overtook the BBC Food site in popularity for the first time, achieving a 10% market share, against the 9.63% the BBC Food site dropped to, having held the top spot since it began.[28] It is named "Good Food Channel" on the UKTV website due to the fact that there is a magazine named Good Food.

Defunct UKTV channels

UKTV has also had many former channels which have been replaced by others. UKTV G2 was replaced on all platforms except Freeview by Dave, which still carries all the same programming on 15 October 2007.[25] Originally named UK Gold Classics it was launched when UK Gold began to move towards newer programmes instead of older ones. From 2 April 1999 it was renamed to UK Gold 2, and screened morning programmes from UK Gold time-shifted to the evening of the same day. It was again relaunched with a completely new programme lineup and renamed UKG² on 12 November 2003. Along with the rest of the UKTV network, the "UK" prefix was changed to "UKTV" on 8 March 2004 and therefore the channel name changed to UKTV G2. The output of the channel was mainly comedy from the BBC with some shows produced in house. A fair amount is similar to the comedy output of UK Play/Play UK before that channel's closure. UKTV Gardens closed down in May 2009, In favour of Really.

Another channel, UK Arena, closed on 31 March 2000 due to insufficient ratings, relaunched — originally with the same graphics — as UK Drama. As said before initial ratings were disappointing and it was decided to relaunch the channel as UK Drama, with a focus on showing dramas rather than general arts programme. Along with the rest of the network, the "UK" prefix was changed to "UKTV" on 8 March 2004.The channels main focus was on arts programming.

Play UK another UKTV channel closed in 2002 due to low ratings after the closure of ITV Digital which a substantial amount of its viewers came from. The channel was launched on 10 October 1998 and was aimed at playing, for most of the time, music in the morning and afternoon while broadcasting comedy in the evening. Play UK broadcast all day on the digital platforms but on the Sky Analogue platform (on the Astra 19.2°E satellites), it broadcast between 1am and 7am when UK Horizons wasn't broadcasting. It closed for a number of reasons spanning from the closure of ITV Digital to how it could not compete with MTV. Play UKs comedy programming was moved to UKTV Gold. UK Gold 2, formerly UK Gold Classics, closed in 2003 became UKG2 and later UKTV G2 and then Dave.

UK Horizons, closed in 2004 to create UKTV People and UKTV Documentary. The channel was mainly based on showing BBC documentaries and other factual programmes. Most programmes were abridged for commercial timing purposes. It took its name from the BBC series Horizon, which formed a staple of its output in the early years. It was launched on 1 November 1997 along with UK Arena and UK Style. It also produced extended versions of top BBC brands such as Top Gear and Tomorrow's World. The launch editor was Bryher Scudamore and the deputy editor Eddie Tulasiewicz. UKTV People +1 closed in 2006 to create UKTV Drama +1.

UKTV Bright Ideas closed in 2007 on all platforms for the relaunch of UKTV G2 as Dave going onto Freeview. Previously known as UK Bright Ideas and originally UK HomeStyle the channel broadcast a variety of programmes, often originally aired on UKTV Style, UKTV Food and UKTV Gardens, and are thus mainly cookery, DIY and gardening. However, in January 2005, it began showing programmes branded by UKTV Sport, presumably to increase potential audience figures by extending the programme to Freeview viewers. Bright Ideas was launched on 15 January 2003 initially for the Freeview digital terrestrial television platform, but later expanded. In September 2007 UKTV announced that UKTV Bright Ideas would be replaced on Freeview by UKTV G2, renamed Dave, as of 15 October 2007 due to low viewing figures of around 0.1% of the audience share.[27] It ceased broadcasting on all platforms on 14 October 2007 at 6pm.

Also note that there was a channel called UK Living that was originally affiliated with the UK Gold but did not become part of the UKTV network, instead transferring to Flextech to be operated as a wholly owned company, it changed its name to LivingTV before the UKTV network launched. Also an analogue teletext service known as GoldText used to be available on UK Gold, but has since closed down.

NetPlay TV

On 7 April 2009, it was announced that Virgin Media Television had agreed to buy options to acquire 9.9 percent of NetPlay TV Plc's shares at a strike price of 18 pence per share.[29]

NetPlay acquired the business assets of Two Way Gaming Ltd, the provider of the Challenge Jackpot gaming services, for £2 million pounds in stock.

NetPlay TV signed production and gaming agreements with Virgin Media Television for an initial period until June 30, 2013, and take over production of Challenge Jackpot, including its website and television channel.

Former Subsidiary Companies

Sit-up Ltd

Through Sit up Ltd the company also controlled bid tv known as bid-up.tv until 21 January 2005. It is a television channel based in the UK the first of its kind in the world and runs live televised auctions every day through various digital television platforms. The channel was launched in October 2000 and started by broadcasting 12 hours a day, many of which were pre-recorded, with auction graphics overlaid so people could bid although the video itself was pre-recorded. It later extended its hours to 18 hours a day, 8am - 1am, and is now completely live., which dropped the dot from its name Screenshop 1 on 21 January 2005 is a shopping channel that is focused on falling prices, using a form of uniform-price Dutch auction. It began broadcasting on 11 June 2003, with broadcasting hours of 4pm - midnight, Wednesday to Saturday. This was later extended to 8am-1am 7 days a week. It is available to more than 12 million homes in the UK, and is achieving weekly revenue of over £3 million. speed auction tv was launched on 27 July 2005, and features rising price auctions lasting about 4 minutes. The channel runs from 8am-1am every day and is only live between 4pm and 8pm and then from 9pm until midnight on Wednesday through to Saturday. From 26 March 2008 speed auction tv changed from rising price auctions to falling price auctions and now has extended broadcasting hours of 7:45pm till 1:30am. Screenshop is an infomercial-based shopping channel. It broadcasts 24 hours a day on the Sky Digital platform, and during the hours of 1am-8am every day during sit-up's downtime on its other channels. A deal in July 2004 meant that Vector Direct will now broadcast their presentations exclusively on the channel, this has led to the channel being striped of its identity, it is now broadcasts under Vector Direct own band 'TV Warehouse', but is still owned by Sit-Up. On 1 April 2009 it was announced that Sit-up Ltd had been sold by Virgin Media to AURELIUS AG.[4][5]

Defunct Sit-up channels

Sit-up are ultimately owned by Virgin Media Television following partial ownership prior to May 2005. Since the takeover a number of non teleshopping channels have been closed down or sold. One of these was matinee movies was the name of the movie channel Movies4Men that runs on Sky Digital when it was owned by Sit-up. It was on Sky Digital channel 336 and ran from 9am-9pm. The channel showed family-orientated films, and rare films such as Love in Pawn or the Frankie Howerd bequest comedy A Touch of the Sun. The last hour of the channel was occupied by some of sit-up's shopping auctions, such as speed auction TV. The Breaks between films were regularly filled by these channels. Films on the channel were introduced by film critic Paul Ross. As an interlude, or at the start of the broadcast day, there were showings of a film magazine programme called Sprockets (not to be confused with the SNL sketches with Mike Myers). The channel was sold to Dolphin Television, who renamed it Movies4Men on 1 February 2006. It intends to begin broadcasting 24 hours a day, although its initial schedule follows the same hours as their predecessors but with less auction programming. As the title of the station shows, they have changed their content, but several films from the former channel pop up from time to time. This is because the archive has not been replaced, and the channel had to make do with the films available. The other channel was called bad movies. It was the name of the movie channel ActionMax, which in turn was replaced by Movies4Men 2, that ran on Sky Digital when it was owned by Sit-up. It was on Sky Digital channel 339 and ran from 9pm-9am. bad movies played a variety of cinematic "turkeys", but evidently, some of the content was from matinee movies, especially after 5am. The first three of bad movies were occupied by some of sit-up's shopping auctions, such as speed auction TV. The channel also featured intros by Ross and episodes of Sprockets. The channel was also sold to Dolphin, who renamed it ActionMax on 1 February 2006. Like Movies4Men, it was intended to begin broadcasting 24 hours a day, but kept the predecessor's schedule with less auction programming, and with the currently-available film archive. Many of the films shown on matinee movies and bad movies were taken from inferior copies with poor sound and/or picture quality. In addition, they were almost invariably screened at the wrong aspect ratio, being squashed vertically (or stretched horizontally) into 16:9 letterbox format from 4:3 originals. This is common of many satellite/Freeview channels/programs, especially quizzes and games. Movies4Men retained the letterboxed format and distorted pictures. ActionMax dropped letterboxing in most cases and removed the picture distortion. As of March 2006 neither channel has shown any noticeable improvement in picture quality.

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  11. ^ "Bravo 2 Gets TNA". http://www.tnawrestling.com/news/fullnews2.php?all=1103. Retrieved 2006-12-29.  
  12. ^ "Details regarding Bravo's deal with TNA Wrestling programming". http://tnauk.blogspot.com/2007/09/bravos-contract-with-tna-wrestling.html. Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
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  14. ^ Virgin to launch Challenge gaming channel
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  29. ^ NetPlay TV says Virgin Media TV takes 9.9 pct option Reuters, 7 April 2009

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