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BSkyB to close Bravo and Channel One

UK pay-TV operator BSkyB is to close male-skewing entertainment channel Bravo and Channel One following the completion of its acquisition of the LivingTV Group from cabler Virgin Media Television.

The pay broadcaster is to close Bravo because it airs similar content to the Sky bouquet of channels. Current series including Sons of Anarchy and Spartacus: Blood and Sand will be distributed across Sky1, Sky2 and Sky3.

The News Corp-backed operator is expected to increase the programming budget for Living, which airs series including Grey’s Anatomy and Britain’s Next Top Model, by around 25%.

It will also close Channel One, the free-to-air channel that was previously known as Virgin1, and gameshow channel Challenge will move into the digital terrestrial slot.

Staff at LivingTV Group have been informed of the review, which is being carried out over the next couple of months by Sophie Turner Laing, managing director of entertainment, news and broadcast operations at BSkyB.

“Content is at the heart of Sky’s strategy. Living is already one of the best pay TV channels around and is obviously a great fit with our existing channels like Sky1. There is so much potential for further development and we intend to increase the on-screen investment by around a quarter as part of our expanded channel portfolio. This is a big part of our plans to bring customers great content from channel brands that really cut through,” said Turner Laing.