We used to have a company called Flextech which had the portfolio of pay channels using the model of the Turners and Viacoms in the US.
It is the shame that Virgin sold the part of what it used to be Flextech to Sky, meaning that Sky has the almost monopoly in the pay channel market. UKTV are doing what former Flextech wholly owned channels used to.
Had Roger Luard not died in 1998 it might had been a different story, would've the merger with Telewest not happened? Would've they brought Hallmark Channel International when it was up for the sale? Would've Flextech be a takeover target for ITV, BT but not Sky?
A former member
Someone been reading my posts I think you need to really read the Wiki page which is correct: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_TV_Group You need to remember Flextech Virgin sold off ALL the remaining parts of Flextech to Sky. Read the page first.
They didn't half faff around in the 90s when it came to production. In 1994 they bought a sizeable share in HTV with the intention of having them produce programmes in Cardiff. Within a year they did the exact same deal with STV, trading in their HTV shares for it, meaning the initial production deal didn't come to fruition.
Flextech never had interest in owning the in-house production arm because after all most of the multi channel TV output in the 90s were full of American imports and ancient shows. Had the TVS archive been included in the Flextech's deal to buy The Family Channel UK then it wouldn't have left the TVS archive in the mess.
A former member
You cant say that because there owned Maidstone studio it wasn't until 02 with telewest there were sold off. Flextech had deals with UKTV etc. There own half of the original channels including gold. Plus over 6 years there made alot of stuff in Maidstone.
What went sour for VMTV/Flextech was Virgin's losses back in the day - in order to recoup from the losses made by NTL, Telewest and the early years of Virgin Media, they decided to sell their non-core assets - VMTV was one of them.
Sky bought them eventually and were completely integrated with the Sky business - while also culling channels such as Bravo and Channel One.
I personally felt shocked at hearing of Bravo's closure - Sky claimed it was because male audiences are served well with Sky1 - which is questionable now considering that it's been propped up to attract a much wider audience. It was also well-established, why shut it off? I think that Sky execs are rethinking on what they've done - they've left an entire demographic for ITV, UKTV, Discovery and Viacom to gobble up. It's also even worse for them now that they're struggling to carve out an identity in the case of Sky Living, and spreading content thinly between 1, Living and Atlantic.
Channel One speaks for itself - there's no way that Sky would have to deal with breaking the now archaic three channel threshold on COM5/Mux C, as well as spreading content too thinly across their channels. They also had a Freeview channel in Sky3, making it pointless to keep it running.
Not hating on Channel One though, it was one of my favourite channels on Freeview at the time - but Sky wasn't prepared to struggle filling channels with a limited house of content that would go into furnishing its own services such as Sky1, Living and Atlantic. Aspects of the former Virgin1 service can still be seen in Pick now these days.
I do think selling VMTV also made Virgin Media hit a snag with their TV service until recently, with new exclusive content and the V6 box.
Had the TVS archive been included in the Flextech's deal to buy The Family Channel UK then it wouldn't have left the TVS archive in the mess.
Please, not again.
I think the TVS archive talk does get extremely out of hand here.
VMTV were in a good place by 2008 with most of the channels (including V1, Living, Bravo) doing decently with a good slate of programming - a shame that Virgin threw it all away with the sale to Sky. Virgin never really benefited from it - all it did for them was increase the longevity of carriage deals and the inclusion of Sky's HD channels. Other than that, Sky got the gift of the gab.
It also didn't help that after the sale, Virgin Media's TV service entered a period of decline - especially when they pledged to increase their broadband footprint.
As for the Trouble channel, it was dependent on Saved By The Bell type sitcoms which was part of its charm alongside sitting on the Kids section on the Sky EPG. Once the production on those shows were dryed up and it moved to the Entertainment part of the EPG (on the hidden depths) the charm went which was to be its downfall. For the move to Entertainment, it should've been lower down this EPG section with Challenge and Bravo and become a mainstream youth channel.
Trouble had a lot of first run urban comedies by the time of its EPG move, once The WB and UPN merged the channel was left with dated reruns which didn't connect with the target audience. Being remained on the kids package didn't help either.