U.K. interactive network gets big backing

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LONDON--Several leading figures from England's advertising industry are behind the launch of the interactive news network Channel 11. The principal investors in Channel 11 parent Interactive News Network (INN) include Chris Ingram, chairman of Europe's second largest media buying independent CIA Group, and Richard Humphreys, who was chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide until 1992.

Humphreys is currently an investor in Adcom, which is in the process of selling U.S. ad agency N.W. Ayer to D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. INN Chief Executive Tim Carron Brown is the other principal investor.

Channel 11 claims to be the U.K.'s first multichannel interactive network, offering a range of news and information channels using original programming. Starting in September Channel 11 will distribute six 24-hour networks. With separate channels for business and consumer viewers, Channel 11 will initially target the food and drink sector with FNN (The Food News Network), WNN (the Wine News Network) and DNN (Drinks News Network). The channels will supply news and online information as well as trading services which will allow viewers to interact with the food and drink industry.

Channel 11 is also trying to sell TV programming to U.K. terrestrial and cable/satellite broadcasters.

INN has just appointed Tony Fitzpatrick as controller of marketing. Mr. Fitzpatrick's background includes six years with public relations giant Shandwick as the European managing director of Rogers & Cowan International.

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