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Chart Show looks to build Pop channel

After launching the UK's latest kids satellite channel in May, digital broadcaster Chart Show Channels is looking to build the service into a potential rival to the BBC's Cbeebies.

With the Pop channel now 11 weeks old, Chart Show Channels ceo Gail Screene told C21 that a timeshift version, called Pop Plus, launches on September 8. A cable carriage deal for Pop will also be signed {in the near future,{ she said.

Screene is also looking to acquire a slate of new toons to add to the Pop schedule. {We currently have a six-month non-exclusive deal with Granada, which means our shows are all ITV quality,{ she said. {But this October we'll be at Mipcom looking to acquire several new animated series.{

The shows Screene is looking for would have to appeal to boys and girls aged 4-9, as well as parents. {Nothing too violent,{ she said. {We're not looking for any live-action either.{

Pop, which airs 06.00-20.00 on Sky Digital, offers a mix of animation and music targeted at children. The schedule includes the preschool animation block Tiny Toons, hosted by animated characters Rorry & Purrdy (pictured), and Tiny Pops, a music show fronted by the Cheeky Monkeys, also toons.

These animated presenters are all produced by Alive Animation, a company owned by Screene and business partner Keith Macmillan, both of whom produced ITV's The Chart Show for 12 years.

Cartoons licensed from Granada include Animal Shelf, Tom & Vicky, Rocky & the Dodos, Bimble's Bucket, Fantomcat, Calamity Jane and Santo Bugito. Kid-skewed music videos appear in shows like Pop Up and The VJ Show, again fronted by toons.

Pop is also introducing its first commercials from this September, with breakfast TV franchise GMTV winning the pitch to handle the airtime sales. This is GMTV's first move into third-party media sales.

{To expand our sales representation we had to establish a relationship with a company that would work in a fully integrated fashion across programmes and sales consistent with our own business,{ said GMTV's sales & marketing director, Clive Crouch.

{Pop's weekday and weekend schedule is positioned to reach the core audience that Cbeebies has successfully achieved since it launched.{

In other news, Chart Show Channels' music channel The Vault is also going 24:7 from September. Launched alongside Pop, the channel currently airs 20.00-06.00 on Sky Digital.

To add to Pop, The Vault and year-old music station Chart Show TV, the company is planning to launch further channels in the future, including a sports channel. Pop was launched under the name Toons & Tunes.

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