UK commercial television station Five is said to be in discussions with Flextech following the end of merger talks with state-owned broadcaster,Channel 4.

The two companies closed the door on 12 months of negotiations last week, citing irreconcilable differences [WAMN: 18-Nov-2004].

Flextech is the content operation of cable company Telewest and owns channels including UK Gold and UK History. Five needs a content boost to compete with the UK's biggest commercial broadcaster ITV and Rupert Murdoch's satellite giant BSkyB.

Five's audience share dropped in the three months ending September 26 by 0.1% to 6.4%, according to latest figures from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, but revenues rose in the first half of 2004 to £135 million (€192m, $251m), despite "mixed advertising conditions" in Europe.

The Bertelsman-owned RTL Group, a co-owner of Five, has not commented so far on the Flextech talks but has stressed it is looking at "all possible options in the UK".

Data sourced from mad.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff