ISLEWORTH, Middlesex: UK satellite TV provider BSkyB last week announced plans to launch a terrestrial digital television service to rival to the BBC's hugely successful Freeview platform. News Corporation-controlled Sky will offer four new channels for a monthly subscription from this summer.

The channels will be available via a normal TV antenna and a special set-top box, rather than satellite or cable. Content will include live soccer and other major sport events in addition to movies, news and entertainment.

The move will result in Sky channels no longer being available on Freeview, for which viewers make a one-off hardware payment.

Says Sky's chief operating officer Mike Darcey: "This will give families more choice and increase the availability of leading content and channel brands."

The launch of the new service is subject to approval by UK media regulator Ofcom, although it is unlikely the project would be publicly announced if a nod was not a foregone conclusion.

Some observers, however, wonder if a premature announcement might be a Murdochian manoeuvre to apply pressure on the regulator.

Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK); additional content by WARC staff