Broadcaster strikes BBC deal

STOVIN HAYTER

The Community Channel is to broadcast BBC programmes under a unique deal that will significantly boost the content available on Britain's only national not-for-profit broadcaster. It is the first time the BBC has agreed to supply programmes to another UK broadcaster.

At present the Community Channel reaches nearly six million UK homes via the Sky Digital platform. It received a significant boost last month, however, with the announcement that it is to be one of the channels on the digital terrestrial television platform to be operated by the BBC and BSkyB and which will replace the now-defunct ITV Digital. This will potentially put the Community Channel into every UK living room, free to viewers who have bought a £100 set-top box.

Gerard Melling, managing director of the Community Channel, said: "The programmes we will get from the BBC will be used to promote issues at the heart of the charity agenda. Our awareness weeks will now be supported by the best social affairs programming in the world."

He added that the Community Channel was also keen to work closely with other not-for-profit broadcasters such as Solent TV, which was awarded a licence last week for a local service on the Isle of Wight. "This kind of micro-broadcasting benefits communities both through the programmes transmitted and through local involvement in their production. We do the same thing on a national level,

said Melling.

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