Setanta EPG slots on the block

By Julian Clover

July 22, 2009

Buyers market for Setanta slots

10.30 Update: Nine slots on the Sky Digital EPG are to be auctioned off after Setanta Sports administrator Deloitte appointed Canis Media to handle the process.

The positions were used to carry channels including Setanta Sports 1 and 2 Setanta Sports News, Setanta Golf, and channels for the Celtic and Rangers football clubs. Setanta Ireland is not in administration and continues to broadcast to the Republic. The channel numbers concerned are: 418, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 435, 436, 437 and 438. There are also a number of unallocated Sky EPG slots available.

As a leading broker of EPG capacity, Canis has previously acted for Ocean Finance, HiTV and Zee TV.

Canis Media managing director Ed Hall told Broadband TV News that the process was likely to complete by close of business today (Wednesday) and that potential buyers were already in the frame. Hall said that despite the current economic uncertainties there were still would be channels looking for EPG slots. “The list of potential channel launches is longer, but they are not pushing to launch.”

At its height channels in the upper reaches of the EPG were able to command in excess of £1 million, but Hall explained the fact that nine slots were being sold in a relatively short space of time would temporarily depress the market, and figures in the order of £60,000 were more realistic.

In late 2007, Sky closed the launch queue for new services into the Sky Guide EPG after it became apparent that several early models of the standard Sky Digibox had severe memory constraints. At the same time the satcaster formalised the market in the trading of EPG slots that had begun to develop.

Channels such as Racing UK and Liverpool FC TV that were managed by the failed broadcaster but were still separate businesses used slots belonging to Setanta. “Where Setanta was appointed as a management company, Sky and Canis had worked to help keep them on air at a difficult time.”

Although in the Sports section of the EPG it would be possible for a broadcaster to take the position and then transfer it to another section.