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TV3 to buy Channel 6 for €10m


CHANNEL 6 could soon feature sports, news and Irish drama after TV3 yesterday announced it had bought the fledgling entertainment station.

The €10m deal is expected to be cleared by the broadcasting regulator in the coming months, clearing the way for changes to Channel 6's largely American line-up.

"Channel 6 has some great programming, but we see a lot more potential there," TV3 boss David McRedmond said last night.

That potential includes adding news bulletins to Channel 6's entertainment-driven mix, as well as sharing sports rights with the new station.

"In TV3 we've been heavily investing in Irish content so we'd like to extend that to Channel 6," said Mr McRedmond.

Mr McRedmond also said there would also be "cross-promotion" between Channel 6 and TV3, with both stations plugging each other's programming.

Asked about the potential for changing Channel 6's name to something more closely branded with TV3, Mr McRedmond said he couldn't rule it out.

Mr McRedmond is also considering moving Channel 6's Blackrock operations to TV3's Ballymount base.

"What we want to do is put everything possible into Irish programming, so if the opportunities are there to save costs, we'll certainly look at it," he said.

TV3 is not, however, actively considering any forced redundancies since Channel 6 is already "pretty lean".

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Founded in March 2006, the entertainment station has raised more than €14m from private backers. The station focused its schedule largely around American shows, including re-runs of classics like 'Frasier'.

Channel 6 struggled to gain market share and notched up losses of €5.5m in its first five months. Figures for 2007 have yet to be filed but those results are also expected to be significantly in the red.

Ireland's first independent TV network, TV3 is owned by UK venture capital group Doughty Hanson, which also has a substantial stake in sports broadcaster Setanta.

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