Since the end of February, anyone tuning into Freeview channel 95 will have seen a message to ‘please stand by’.
Ideal Shopping Direct, the original owner of that channel slot has gone into administration.
Channel 95 was formerly the home of Create & Craft on Freeview, prior to its takeover by Hochanda, who moved the service to its own Freeview channel. But while Hochanda bought Create & Craft, it didn’t buy the channel number. One week before Create & Craft left channel 95, it was relabelled ‘Craft Extra’.
Documents seen by RXTV detailing what happened to Ideal World show Ideal Shopping Direct was losing half a million pounds a week by the end of 2021. Its ultimate owner, Auerlius, cut off Ideal Shopping’s credit line. This led to Ideal Shopping Direct’s assets being carved up for sale.
It led to Ideal Shopping Direct selling Ideal World’s Freeview channel number to TJC in January for £7 million. 50% of the proceeds went to Auerlius. On 10th January, Create & Craft was sold to Hochanda. As part of the deal, a 45 day transition period to the 25th February was agreed. This was the second anniversary of Create & Craft moving to the Freeview capacity that sits behind channel 95.
Channel 95 was then effectively abandoned. The channel switched to the ‘be back soon’ slate that is still there at the beginning of May. The administrators have since taken legal advice on what to do with the channel. Freeview channel rules allow a service to be suspended for up to 12 weeks, meaning the channel slot is now just weeks away from being lost.
Current Ideal World TV channel unaffected
- The main Ideal World TV channel was also ultimately sold off and continues to broadcast under new ownership. The channel and its current customers are unaffected by the administration of its former owner. The new owners have recently applied for an additional Ofcom licence. This allows them to broadcast a Freeview channel under the name “Brands.tv”. Brands.tv has yet to appear on the Freeview channel list.
Administrators at Turpin Baker Armstrong tasked with winding up Ideal Shopping Direct’s remaining business activities wrote to creditors in April outlining proposals to deal with outstanding assets and debts.
Regarding Freeview channel 95, they told creditors: “Valuation advice has been sought with respect to the channel but as a consequence of the terms of the relevant agreements, including insolvency clauses enabling termination, it is not anticipated that the channel will have any value. We are presently seeking further legal advice in order to ascertain appropriate next steps to deal with the channel.”
Meanwhile, Virgin Media is seeking at least £529,123 from the administrators for the termination of its carriage deal with Ideal Shopping Direct. The contract covered both Ideal World (under the previous owner) and Create & Craft channels. Hochanda has since secured its own deal to retain Create & Craft on Virgin Media. For 2022, it is paying £192,310 for carriage.
Other creditors include ITV and its multiplex operator subsidiary SDN, on which channel 95 is currently (not) broadcasting.
By Iain Hatton, features writer, RXTV