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Al Gore has switched on his Current TV channel in the UK and Ireland with the aim of “democratising television”. The channel has been given carriage on digital satellite by BSkyB (channel 229) and on digital cable by Virgin Media (channel 155) and will feature the same mix of user-generated content (Current calls it “viewer-created content”, VC²) as its US forebear, which launched in 2005 with the aim of including short, progressive “pods” from around the world. Films are voted on to the TV channel by users of the uk.current.com website. In Britain, the channel is partnering with Lonely Planet as well as with The British Library, which will compile a 12-episode “Citizen’s Diary of Great Britain” that it said will be preserved for future generations.
Current is also airing “Google Current” — an hourly rundown of some popular search terms from the UK Google Zeitgeist — while a third of programming will come from the viewers. The deal adds Sky’s eight million and Virgin’s 3.3 million subscribers to the roughly 40 million US viewers Gore said already have access. (Availability doesn’t equal viewership.) Launching the channel in London, Gore — who has served as adviser to Google and is on Apple’s board — said Current won’t stop at the UK. “We’re in negotiations with a lot of distributors in a lot of different countries. We are going to move forward and are very happy that a lot of people are knocking on our door,” Variety quotes him as saying.
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