MEDIA: UKTV expands online offer

UKTV, the digital broadcast network jointly owned by the BBC and Telewest, is extending its online presence.

A third website for the network is planned to come on stream by June, concentrating on UK Food, the channel launched last November.

Channel editor Nick Thorogood is also putting together programming ideas, which he expects PROs with food, drink and other 'lifestyle' clients to find of interest.

'We have worked very closely with product suppliers and are delivering a focused audience. It is a magazine environment - niche, targeted and quality,' he said.

Programmes on food, travel, drink and celebrations are potentially in the pipeline. 'We are looking at key dates in the food calendar, such as St Patrick's Day or US Independence Day,' Thorogood added.

Aimed at ABC women aged 25 to 45, UK Food's original programming and new commissions will sit with existing genre shows, which are the staple of UKTV's various channels.

The new programming will be based around Good Food Live, the station's 90-minute daily flagship show, edited by Elaine Bancroft and presented by Jeni Barnett.

Ian Senn will oversee the UK Food website. 'We want to give our core, loyal viewers something else, an extension of the channels,' a spokeswoman said. It will contain features, competitions, online discussions and expert advice.

UK Style, which is also edited by Thorogood, launched its own website last year, dealing with homes, interiors, gardening and entertainment.

It is adding an interactive feature to the site at the end of the month allowing wannabe gardeners to plan their own 'virtual' garden online, while receiving practical advice on how to develop it.

UK Horizons, the network's science and documentary channel, also has a website.

UKTV is owned by BBC Worldwide and Flextech, the content arm of Telewest.

It comprises six channels, screening a mixture of old and new programmes, which range from drama to comedy.

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