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Additionally, the BBC News & BBC Sport connected TV apps with be withdrawn before the end of the year, as will the lottery and weather pages on connected TVs.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

BBC Sounds App Now on Freeview Play

The BBC Sounds app, allowing users to access radio, podcasts, and playlists from the BBC, is now available on some Freeview Play devices.

Humax have confirmed that the FVP-4000T and FVP-5000T Freeview Play recorders can access the app via the Explore Freeview Play interface, which can be found on channel 100 when the device is connected to the internet.

It has not been confirmed if other Humax devices, or devices from other manufacturers, can access the app.

BBC Remains Most Used Media Organisation

According to the BBC’s annual report from April 2019 to March 2020, the BBC is still the most used media organisation in the UK, with 41 million users a day.

90% of the population use the BBC each week, and this grew to 94% in March as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The BBC iPlayer recorded a record 4.8 billion requests to stream programmes during the period covered by the report.

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.

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.

New Partnership Sees NFL on Channel 5

American football league National Football League (NFL), and ViacomCBS have agreed a three year deal that will see NFL coverage on ViacomCBS owned Channel 5. Coverage will launch on the 13th September.

The deal sees the return of Monday Night Football live on free-to-air TV. A new Sunday morning magazine programme called NFL End Zone will also air at 11.30am each Sunday, and will be filmed in a different US location each week.

The deal will also see NFL content air across MTVs digital platforms in the UK, with MTV also being owned by ViacomCBS.

Channel 5 was previously an NFL broadcaster from 1998 to 2009.

Football Blackout Lifted

The Football Association (FA) has lifted the Saturday afternoon 3pm blackout for the upcoming football season, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The blackout was introduced in 1980s, preventing games with a 3pm kick-off from being shown live on TV. This is to encourage fans to attend matches, and promote participation at grassroots level.

The move should mean that all Premier League matches will be available on TV, although the platforms showing the additional matches are yet to be confirmed.

Games are still being played behind closed doors, although it is planned that limited numbers of fans will be allowed to attend from the end of October.

Sky Arts on Freeview, What We Know So Far

Helpfully, information has been rather drip fed, but more details have now been confirmed for Sky’s Freeview channels.

On Freeview, Sky Arts will be available on channel number 11, and will be broadcast on the COM5 multiplex, from the 17th September (2020) Sky Pick will move from channel 11 to channel 34, but will remain on the same multiplex. Depending on your equipment, a re-tune may be required.

It appears that Challenge is continuing, at the least for the time being. There is currently capacity on the COM5 multiplex, meaning that Sky Arts can be added without the need to close another channel.

Merit appears likely to close, once it has given Sky Pick the 34 channel number, but this has not been confirmed. Additionally, Sky Arts will also be available on Freesat channel 147.