Telco company Opera Telecom has sold its 50% stake in Friendly TV, the entertainment channel currently being investigated by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) over claims it has screened unencrypted pornography , writes Rosemary Gallagher
Opera, which had provided funding to help set up Friendly TV, said it had decided to cut its links with the channel and joint venture partner Hi2 in order to refocus its resources on providing infrastructure and billing services to other broadcasters.
A spokesman said: 'Now that the station has established a core audience of viewers and is moving out of its ?start-up' phase, Opera Telecom has now agreed terms for the sale of its shareholding in the station. This is in line with our long-term strategy to support and serve the broadcast industry, utilising our fundamental skills in the provision of infrastructure and billing, as opposed to being directly involved in the broadcast arena ourselves.'
He added the move was not connected to the ITC investigation, but admitted that the company had been 'surprised' to learn that the channel, which launched on Sky on 12 May, was showing adult material.
Last week the ITC confirmed that Friendly TV was being investigated after two viewers wrote in alleging that it was showing "unsuitable" images.
Hi2 said Opera's withdrawal from the venture would not affect the future of the channel.