Advanced Television

Wall out at UKTV

March 6, 2009

Malcolm Wall, the chief executive of Virgin Media’s content business, is leaving the business. His departure comes as Virgin Media is said to be preparing for the sell-off of its TV channels business. Virgin Media Television’s 50% stake in UKTV could also potentially be folded into a new commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Channel 4. BBCW is the other partner has a buy out option if there is a third party bid.

Wall joined Virgin Media in 2006 to run its content business. This includes Virgin Media Television, owner of channels such as Living, Challenge, Trouble and Bravo, and housed the company’s 50% stake in the UKTV pay-TV joint venture with the BBC. Wall was also chairman of UKTV, which operates channels including Gold and Dave.

Wall joined Virgin Media from United Business Media, where he held the role of chief operating officer. He has also worked for ITV companies including Granada, Anglia and Southern.

City analysts have estimated that Virgin’s TV assets could be worth more than £500m (E560m) with the 50% stake in UKTV, which includes channels such as Dave, Gold and Eden, valued at up to £350m. However valuations are complicated by the BBC involvement and plummeting ad revenues. The same business under the Flextech name was withdrawn from sale when a reserve of £800m wasn't reached at the time of the NTL and Telewest merger.


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