UKTV, the subscription channel network that includes UK Gold, has
appointed John Keeling as controller of channels.
Launched in 1997, UKTV is a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and
Flextech, the content arm of Telewest.
Keeling, who starts next week, plans to develop alternative revenue
streams such as interactive programmes. New commissions will also be an
increasing part of UKTV's output, though Keeling would not reveal what
proportion of the budget is allocated to them.
But he said there would be original music programmes on PlayUK, whose
editor is Matthew Littleford, as well as new content for Food, which
launches next week, and Style. Both of these are edited by Nick
Horizons, the factual channel edited by Liam Keelan, is an archive-only
channel at present. 'But I don't see any reason why it shouldn't have
original programmes in the future,' Keeling added.
Katie Barnard remains editor of Gold and Drama.
Keeling said: 'The emphasis will be to consolidate what's there now. A
lot of it is fairly young. I want to make sure that each of the channels
knows what it is trying to be and can execute against that.
'You have got to be sure what you're offering is right from the start.
Getting viewers back a second time is twice as hard. Keeping UKTV as a
coherent package is the way to grow it.'
He continued: 'Outside of Sky, UKTV is the most successful commercial
operation. It is so important in the multi-channel arena to make your
brand stand out.'
Keeling will report directly to BBC director of TV, Mark Thompson, who
said the new controller has 'proven editorial vision and creative
Keeling launched Channel 4's digital channel FilmFour, and has worked at
The Disney Channel, MTV and Sky Movies. He was MD for Europe at The
Auction Channel, which stopped broadcasting in the UK last March.
Keeling has been acting as a consultant in the advertising sector since
He replaces Kathryn Mitchell, who joined New York-based Comedy Central
as senior vice-president of programming.