NetPlay TV agrees gambling deal with Five

Tuesday, September 8 2009, 10:48 BST

By Andrew Laughlin, Technology Reporter

NetPlay TV has agreed a five-year deal with Five to broadcast live interactive gambling on terrestrial television.

Under the new arrangement, Five will carry the show from midnight to 4am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights starting from September 17.

From October, this will be extended to six nights per week and then expanded to every night from the start of 2010. The deal follows a four-week trial of the show on Five to evaluate the commercial prospects of the approach.

NetPlay TV chief executive Martin Higginson said: "The initial five-year deal with Five reflects our confidence in the product and its suitability for the medium of television. The four-day, four-week test on Five confirmed the massive opportunity interactive TV gaming brings.

"Over the past two and half years we have developed and strengthened our product. is the world's first truly interactive TV casino. To be broadcasting on a national terrestrial TV channel heralds a new chapter in the growth of NetPlay TV."

When the deal goes live, Five will become the first UK broadcaster to utilise Ofcom's new regulatory arrangements around teleshopping, in which terrestrial broadcasters can carry up to six hours of such programming in a 24-hour period. Five will also retain the option to take buy 9,754,822 shares, or 5% of NetPlay TV at a set price of 28.5p per share.

Five sales director Kelly Williams said: "The recent changes to the rules on teleshopping open up new opportunities for additional revenue streams for terrestrial broadcasters through advertising.

"Uppermost in our minds, however, was the need to secure a regulated product that we could offer with confidence to our viewers. During a trial period, we were satisfied by the robust nature of NetPlay TV's market-leading interactive TV casino product. Five is therefore delighted to have chosen NetPlay TV to feature in its teleshopping window."

A separate deal was recently agreed between NetPlay TV and STV to launch the first ever live interactive casino channel on digital terrestrial television in Scotland.