London -- Jones International Inc.'s European
Knowledge TV channel closed June 6, after a search for European partners to stem its
losses failed, making it the latest in a series of U.S.-backed European ventures to close.
The shutdown of the channel will affect some 14 employees,
including managing director Dennis Garrison, a well-known American expatriate cable
executive based here. Jones had been seeking local European partners to help share the
investment, with negotiations going on for the better part of a year. However, the
timetable set for those talks ended last Friday.
Less than two weeks ago, Nickelodeon shut down its German
channel, after a failure to find local investors. Also among the recently departed were
Country Music Television's CMT Europe and The Weather Channel's European
Knowledge TV's closure also marks the departure of
U.S. cable veteran Glenn Jones from the international business. He had sold his U.K.
cable-systems investment, opting instead to focus his international-investment plans on
Knowledge TV had racked up distribution in 1.4 million
homes across Europe, via cable and satellite, since its launch as a 12-hour-per-day
service in February 1997. It had carriage in Britain, Belgium, Poland, Romania, the
Netherlands and Sweden. As recently as April 29, the company announced new distribution
deals with cable operators Telia in Denmark; Eneco in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and
ComTel in the United Kingdom.
Ken Street, senior vice president, worldwide for Jones
Education Networks, said the company will now seek to syndicate its programming through a
partnership with program distributor Planet Pictures, concentrating on China, Japan,
Israel, Chile, South Korea, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Hong Kong.
"We came to the realization that syndication has much
more upside potential," Street said.
A new consortium is understood to be interested in filling
Knowledge TV's niche in Europe and in taking the programming style and content
forward. Besides possibly picking up the 1.4 million homes that are carrying Knowledge TV,
another potential prize for a new channel in the genre would be the carriage slot that had
been reserved for Knowledge TV on British Sky Broadcasting's digital platform, which
launches later this month.