London -- Three senior staff members have quit U.K.
digital-terrestrial pay TV platform ONdigital, following July's sudden departure of CEO
Stephen Grabiner after just 16 months on the job.
News of the resignations of programming director Ashley
Faull and commercial director Jim Ratcliffe emerged early this month.
Faull was formerly programming director of British MSO
Telewest Communications plc. ONdigital has hired another cable executive, Cable &
Wireless Communications plc's director of programming Graham Stanley, an American, as his
replacement. ONdigital launched last November.
Ratcliffe, formerly in charge of Granada Media's Home
Technology division, is the second commercial director to abandon ship within a year.
Anthony Sethill, his predecessor, left last October.
Both were reportedly unsettled by Grabiner's departure and
the way budgets were subsequently trimmed by incoming CEO Stuart Prebble, formerly
director of channels at Granada Media, one of ONdigital's owners.
The other owner, Carlton Communications plc, is employing a
very much hands-on management style, with widespread press reports citing "tensions
and personality clashes" within ONdigital's senior staff.
Last week, ONdigital's operations director John Egan, a
highly respected figure in the industry and the architect behind ONdigital's acknowledged
technical success, also quit. Egan is being replaced by Simon Dore , director of channel
development at Granada Media.
ONdigital, at least in media circles, is beginning to look
more than a little beleaguered. Deployment of set-top boxes, which are free to
subscribers, is lackluster. The programming and marketing budget cuts were needed to fund
the box giveaway policy, although a new ad campaign will break later this month.
ONdigital had 247,000 subscribers at the end of June, the
most recent figure available. The company said some 68,000 sales were made during June,
but digital direct-to-home competitor British Sky Broadcasting plc is believed to be
achieving three times that number per month.