EDINBURGH TV FESTIVAL: Sky is committed to entertainment, says Living chief

BSkyB's purchase of Virgin Media Television reflects its belief that entertainment is the next huge driver for pay-TV, according to Claudia Rosencrantz, director of television at Living TV Group.

Pay-TV: entertainment will be big driver for platform says Living TV chief
Pay-TV: entertainment will be big driver for platform says Living TV chief

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival today (27 August), Rosencrantz said: "[Sky] is investing heavily in content, which shows they think entertainment is the next thing which will be a huge driver for pay. It's highly likely that they will invest in [the Living TV Group] channels which are hugely important for pay-TV."

Although Sky bought Virgin Media Television – since renamed the Living TV Group – from Virgin Media in June for £160m, and although the sale has been completed, Sky is not allowed any contact with Living TV Group until the regulatory process is complete. This is expected in mid-September.

Rosencrantz said: "We now sit, none the wiser, in a place called 'hold separate'. We have no contact with our new owners and we're not allowed to while the regulatory process goes through. We hope it will be a fast one so we can crack on. That's the bottom line."

The female-focused Living is seen as a perfect addition to Sky's pay channels, which have a male bias. However, the future of the other Living TV Group channels, such as male-focused Bravo and Challenge, is less certain.

Rosencrantz said: "Living is an incredibly valuable demographic for pay. It's a very attractive pot of women that is not as superserved in pay as men are. I don't fear for Bravo because change is exciting. Sky is a phenomenally bright organisation, but I can't answer about plans and what the future will be."

Earlier this year, Living poached Katie Price from ITV2 in a deal reportedly worth £6m.

Rosencrantz said: "I think she is just the most famous and followed female celebrity in this country. She's perfect for the channel and she saw it as a huge opportunity to [let people] see a new side of Katie Price."

Follow Maisie's views from the Festival on the Media 360 Blog

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