Teletext and C4 sign text services deal

(London - July 1 2003) Channel 4 has awarded a 10-year contract to Teletext to provide editorial and commercial text services to accompany the broadcasters’ channels on both analogue and digital TV platforms.

The deal, which was signed today after a three-way tender process, will replace Channel 4’s existing agreement with Intelfax for the provision of the FourText service.

Under the terms of the new deal agreed between Teletext and Channel 4, a new text service, Teletext on 4, will launch at the end of this year on analogue. The service will replace the current FourText pages, which provides information on Channel 4 programmes.

The launch of Teletext on 4 across digital terrestrial, satellite and cable channels will take place during the first quarter of next year.

The service will be accessible via the text button on the remote control to viewers watching Channel 4 or its sister services, E4 and FilmFour, via any distribution platform.

The new Teletext on 4 service will have an expanded programme support function, with a wider range of Channel 4 programming receiving dedicated text support such as features, interviews and dynamic content, including allowing viewers to post real-time messages in chat pages.

Teletext on 4 information services will include: news, finance, sport, weather and travel, racing, lottery results, regional cinema listings and a dating service for viewers to post and reply to personal ads.

Further planned enhancements to the service include lottery-style gaming concepts and commercial and editorial Teletext services relating to motoring. It is envisaged that the Teletext motoring services will bring about new distribution channels for the retailing of cars with digital information services providing the ability to include photographs on text pages enhancing the appeal for viewers and advertisers. Advertisers will also benefit from real-time update facilities.

Larry Lawson, Commercial Director at Teletext, said: “We are delighted to be combining the strengths of Channel 4 and Teletext and believe the availability of a text service linked to Channel 4 programming, on all television platforms, will generate high audience figures and revenues, while establishing new standards for future TV information services.”

Anmar Kawash, Channel 4’s Deputy Commercial Director, who negotiated the deal on behalf of Channel 4’s commercial arm, 4 Ventures, said: “This deal will enhance our text service editorially and promises to be a good commercial deal for both Channel 4 and Teletext, but it is also a great deal for our viewers. We know they value the services available to them via the text button and they will hugely appreciate being able to access the traditional strengths of an enhanced text service in a digital environment as well as having the additional choice of 4 Active’s interactive services via the red button on their remote controls.”