Advanced Television

Archive SVoD service launches

July 29, 2020

By Colin Mann

Film, distribution and production company Network Distributing is launching a new streaming service, networkonair, offering archive TV fans an experience where linear TV meets streaming with a selection of ‘Nights In’.

networkonair, available from July 29th in the UK and Ireland, enables viewers to rent specially-curated ‘Nights In’ and collected series from ABC Television, which broadcast in the Midlands and Northern England between 1956 and 1968. Many of these programmes have not been seen since their original broadcast. Content has been newly remastered from the surviving original film material.

The highlight of this new service is Network’s Nights In programming – hours of curated content starting at £3.99 (€4.40). These are entire evenings of television from the 1950s and 60s and remastered in the best possible quality, enabling platform viewers to enjoy a truly vintage and nostalgic viewing experience, which Network Distributing suggests is time travel TV.

A Night In consists of four-to-six hours of exclusively curated programming, including specially-recorded new linking material from David Hamilton (original ABC continuity announcer and host), clips and contemporary ads.

These Nights In will be made available alongside accompanying series to launch the service. Titles include Dial 999, Big Night Out, Armchair Theatre and The Bruce Forsyth Show. On top of this, various special documentaries can be found, including one on Michael Caine available exclusively via a Night In.

The first Night In, titled ‘Welcome once again to Manchester’ includes:

Here’s David Nixon – Episode 1

Dial 999: The Great Gold Robbery

Opportunity Knocks (originally broadcast July 31st 1965)

Big Night Out (originally broadcast July 6th 1963)

The ABC of ABC: The channel’s 10-year anniversary special, (unseen since 1966)

Armchair Theatre: A Very Fine Line

Surprise Bonus Show

Users will have 28 days to watch the content from purchase. The content itself is available for a limited time only on the platform.

“Having spent the best part of 25 years liberating huge swathes of British television and film from the archives and building a sizeable catalogue of things you thought you’d never see again, we’re really proud to present something new and different for our first foray into video-on-demand,” remarked Tim Beddows, Managing Director of Network Distributing.

“On this occasion we’ve foraged the ABC Television library, a company once at the heart of British broadcasting in the 50s and 60s. We’ve had a huge amount of fun building a schedule of some amazing programmes, most of which haven’t been seen since they were originally shown and working with David Hamilton, who has been just perfect for this project. Merging these old programmes with new technology is going to be an exhilarating televisual journey and one we’re looking forward to immensely,” he added.

“In October 1960, I made my television debut as an announcer for ABC TV at the Didsbury studios in Manchester,” recalled Hamilton. “In those days, there were only two TV channels – BBC and ITV.  ABC, the weekend contractor in the North and Midlands, had a blockbuster schedule and people went to work on Monday mornings talking about the programmes they had all seen the night before, something that couldn’t happen today – truly a golden era of television.”

Since 1997, the Network imprint has been instrumental in releasing vintage television, originally on VHS tapes, then on DVD, and more recently on Blu-ray and digital formats. Now the company is launching its very own streaming service, with new ways to experience classics from the archives of British television.

Network’s streaming service will complement its physical offering and established catalogue.

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