BBC Channel Changes

While I was away, it was confirmed that BBC Three is returning as a linear TV channel, to the Freesat, Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media platforms.

CBBC will revert to its original finishing time of 7pm. BBC Three will feature a strand of programmes suitable for 13 to 18 year olds from 7pm to 9pm. The return of BBC Three is scheduled for early 2021.

Although frequencies are available for the return of BBC Three, the original channel numbers have been reassigned to other services. It has not been confirmed which numbers BBC Three will be given, but as a BBC service, it will be given priority for a low number high on the EPG.

BBC Four remains, but will become an archive channel, and will no longer receive new commissioned shows. Some live art programming will remain, as part of the cost reducing changes.

Tit for Tat Move from China

Following Ofcom revoking CGTN’s license to broadcast in the UK, China has made a similar move against BBC World News, banning the channel from broadcasting in China.

Despite this, BBC World News is not widely available in China, except in some hotels. China has accused the BBC’s news coverage in China as being untruthful and unfair, claims which have been refuted by the BBC.

The move appears to be ‘tit for tat’, and is a sign of worsening tensions between the UK and China. Hong Kong’s RTHK government broadcaster has also removed the BBC World News channel.

Integration Planned for Freesat and Digital UK

UK public service broadcasters BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 are planning to integrate Digital UK and Freesat. Digital UK facilitates the provision of Freeview TV services, whilst Freesat is the UK’s main subscription free satellite TV platform (not to be confused with the entirely separate Freesat from Sky).

This proposed move is intended to help ensure viewers continue to have access to a range of free to view TV platforms. Additionally, the move is also intended to help viewers benefit from technological innovations and developments across the two services.

The move requires regulatory approval, and should complete a few months after approval is given.

BBC Sounds App Added to Sky Q

A new app has been added to the Sky Q connected satellite platform. BBC Sounds allows users to access live radio, music mixes, playlists, and podcasts produced by the BBC.

The app is now available to all Sky Q customers, and can be launched using the voice control remote by saying “Launch BBC Sounds”.

Among the functions of the app is the ability to pick up where they left off on other devices. Users can subscribe to shows so they don’t miss an episode, and bookmark their favourites.

The deal expands on existing collaboration between the BBC and Sky, which saw iPlayer launch on Sky Q towards the end of 2019.

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.

Additional Premier League Games Pay Per View

It has now been confirmed that all Premiere League fixtures until the end of October will be available to watch, with five games a week available in a pay per view basis.

Existing arrangements and match selections with BT Sport and Sky Sports will remain in place. The matches not already selected for broadcast will be made available on the BT Sport Box Office and Sky Sports Box Office platforms.

This interim solution has been agreed by clubs, but does mean that there will be no more free to air live matches for the immediate future, although the BBC continues to show highlights.

BBC Sky Channel Number Changes

BBC Alba, the Gaelic TV service from the BBC and MG Alba, is has moved to a new channel number on Sky. BBC Alba will take over channel number 117, last used by the short lived STV2 service.

With Disney having withdrawn its linear children’s TV channels, CBBC and CBeebies has moved to vacated numbers 607 and 608 respectively. If you have a HD box, the SD versions are on 643/644, and vice-versa for older SD boxes

The number swaps took place on 1st October (2020). Viewers should not need to take action, as the changes will be made automatically.

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.

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.

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.