Premiere League Scraps PPV

The English Premier League has scrapped the pay per view (PPV) set up for additional football matches that would not otherwise be shown on TV, but are being made available due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most additional matches will now be shown on Sky Sports or BT Sport. A notable exception is Fulham v Everton which will be shown on the BBC, and will kick-off at 12pm on the 22nd of November.

The PPV service was criticised for being too expensive. Some clubs also criticised the cost, with Newcastle United suggesting a much lower £4.99 per match fee.

The situation will be reviewed in the new year, and highlights will continue to be available on the BBC’s Match of the Day programme.

Note: This story now falls outside of the scope for news articles on All About Digital TV, but has been included as a continuation of previous stories.

Virgin TV 360 Launches

Already available in the Republic of Ireland, cable TV operator Virgin Media have now launched their new Virgin TV 360 platform in the UK, to offer a “seamless connected entertainment experience”.

Customers can enjoy simple modern menus, quick navigation and their favourite channels and apps all in one place, including all major TV channels and streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix.

A new mini ‘set top’ box has been launched, complete with a new remote which features voice control. The Virgin TV Go app has also been updated.

Channel U to Return

Grime music TV station will return on 13th November (2020), and will broadcast grime videos and classic shows, along with the movie Against All Odds.

The original Channel U, later known as Channel AKA, first launched in 2003, spending 15 years on air prior to closure in 2018.

Availability is not yet confirmed, but the channel is expected to be available on Sky and Virgin Media.

ITV’s The Voice Resumes

Signing competition The Voice, one of many high profile shows to stop filming due to Covid-19, is making its return on the 3rd October (2020).

The entire series so far is being made available on catch-up service ITV Hub, with a special catch-up show to air ahead of the semi-final and final, later this month on ITV.

The semi-final and final will be pre-recorded in the coming weeks, and will feature a virtual audience.

BBC Red Button Service to Continue

The BBC will now continue the text based Red Button information service. However, there will be further reductions in the content available.

From November 2020, Lottery results will no longer be available on the Red Button. From mid 2021, English regional sport pages and individual sports’ headlines (except football and those on the main sport pages) will be removed. National sport indexes for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales, will be retained alongside all sport fixtures and results.

Additionally, the BBC News & BBC Sport connected TV apps with be withdrawn before the end of the year, as will the lottery and weather pages on connected TVs. Video content on these apps will be moved to the iPlayer.

GB News to Challenge Sky and BBC

Andrew Neil, a former BBC journalist and broadcaster, is to launch a new 24 hour news channel called GB News. The channel will rival long established BBC News and Sky News, and will be on all major platforms, although exact platform availability is yet to be revealed.

Andrew Neil has been appointed chairman, and will also host a flagship programme. The management team will also include Angelos Frangopoulos (ex Sky Australia) and John McAndrew (ex Sky News).

Discovery has been named as the lead investor of the channel, which is expected to launch in 2021.

Sky Arts Now on Freeview

As previously reported, Sky Arts has now gone free-to-air. The channel is available on Sky, Freesat, Freeview, and Virgin Media, and shows arts and culture based programmes.

Sky Arts is now available on Freeview channel 11, and has achieved a prominent position on the EPG due to number swapping with other Sky owned channels.

This means that the channel is close to channels from public service broadcasters BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, who already show arts and culture based programmes.

ZEE TV and ZEE Cinema to Close

Asian TV channels ZEE TV and ZEE Cinema are expected to close at the end of the year. Both are currently available on Sky (satellite) and Virgin Media (cable).

The move is subject to the renegotiation of commercial contracts, as these don’t expire until 2021. Zee had already closed its other services, including ZEE TV HD and ZEE Punjabi

Like Disney with Disney+, ZEE is focussing its efforts on its online streaming platform, in this case ZEE5.

All September Premier League Matches to Be Televised

With Covid-19 still forcing matches to be played behind closed doors, it has been confirmed that all September Premier League football matches will be shown live on TV.

Sky and BT Sport had already selected to show 17 matches, with a further 11 to also now be shown. Of these, Sky will show a further six, BT Sport will show a further three, with Amazon Prime and the BBC to show one each.

The BBC have confirmed that they will be showing Leicester City’s home fixture against Burnley, on 20th September (2020) with kick-off at 7pm.

It has not been confirmed if more Championship, League 1, and League 2 games will be televised.

Youtube Kids Arrives on Virgin Media

Virgin Media has added YouTube Kids to its V6 TV platform, allowing a child friendly platform for streaming Youtube videos.

The app can be set for different age groups, allowing parents to customise the experience so it is appropriate to their children.

The app is available to Virgin Media subscribers with the newer V6 box. Users of the previous generation Tivo box will not have access to the app at this time.