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EDITIONS
Friday, 24 May, 2002, 19:18 GMT 20:18 UK
ITV Digital viewers up for grabs
NTL TV viewers
NTL is looking to widen its subscriber pool
ITV Digital's 1.2 million subscribers are to be targeted by rival NTL, after the collapsed firm revealed it had sold its customer list.

The deal, the first step in an attempt to realise some cash from the insolvent firm, is believed to have raised $1.5m.

NTL, which markets telecom and TV services through its extensive cable network, is keen to increase its market share.

"We intend to win more than our fair share," said Stephen Carter, managing director of NTL.

ITV Digital collapsed after failing to meet payments to the football league in March, and 400 more staff at a Plymouth call centre lost their jobs on Friday.

High hopes

NTL, which has about 3 million UK subscribers, is now likely to contact ITV Digital customers by telephone or post.

But its ability to launch a UK-wide promotion effort could be hampered by its own financial difficulties, which recently forced it to slash its marketing department to a handful of staff.

The firm hopes, however, that the availability of ITV Digital customers could prove something of a turning point.

It recently ordered 300,000 new set-top boxes from manufacturer Pace, and signed a supply deal with rival box-maker Samsung.

Far to go

As far as ITV Digital is concerned, the sale of its mailing list is a tiny step in the mammoth task of unwinding its operations.

Deloitte & Touche, the accountancy firm that is administering ITV Digital, has already cut costs, sacking several hundred call centre workers in Pembrokeshire and Devon.

Further sales from the firm could include its physical assets, including set-top boxes and broadcasting equipment.

Next week, Granada and Carlton, the two UK broadcasting firms that jointly own ITV Digital, are set to announce losses relating to their investments in the firm.

The two are in complex and heated discussions over their obligations resulting from a contract to broadcast Football League matches.

ITV Digital still owes 178.5m under the deal.


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See also:

24 May 02 | England
21 May 02 | Business
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17 May 02 | Business
20 May 02 | Entertainment
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