Viewers of Channel 4 and Channel 5 are continuing to face disruption caused by an incident at transmission provider Red Bee Media. Some BT Sport channels are also affected, as is the BBC.
Red Media Media provide playout facilities, forming part of the infrastructure that enables the channels to broadcast. An incident has caused damage to the servers which enable this.
The BBC were able to switch seamlessly to a backup service, allowing all TV channels to continue broadcasts as or close to normal. Channel 5 has also returned to air, with a black and white triangle logo in the right hand corner of the screen indicating the channel is using back up facilities.
Channel 4 and it’s sister channels (including the Box Plus Network) is experiencing the most disruption. The disruption varies from platform to platform, but E4 +1 is currently off-air on Freeview, and most Box Plus Network channels are simulcasting either The Box or Kiss. Online live streams are off-air, and viewers are reporting problems with sound and picture quality.
It is unclear what the exact cause of the disruption is, or when problems will be resolved.
My5, the catch-up service from ViacomCBS owned Channel 5, has expanded, and now includes content from CBS Reality and Horror Channel.
The move will bring an additional 400 hours of content to the platform over the next year, from the two channels which operate through a joint venture between ViacomCBS and the UK arm of AMC Networks.
My5 already hosts content from across the Channel 5 portfolio, and also includes third party content from BLAZE, BET, PBS America, Real Stories, Together TV, and Timeline, in addition to the new content from CBS Reality and Horror Channel.
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.
On demand content access has improved significantly in recent years, so I thought it would be useful to evaluate if there is a point to keeping these channels.
+1 channels of the likes of ITV and Channel 4 were established to allow viewers to catch a show that they might have just missed the start of. They have historically also been used as placeholders, pending the launch of new channels. They can be found on all major TV platforms, including Freeview.
Subsequently, nearly all TV channels have developed an on demand platform. These allow viewers to catch up on missed programmes for between 7 and 30 days (sometimes longer) after they were first broadcast. Well known catch up services include BBC iPlayer and My5.
Despite this, many +1 channels still exist. For those with recorder boxes which can only record 2 programmes at one time, the +1 channels can assist with reducing scheduling conflicts. However, as programmes are often repeated several times, there are ways around such an issue without +1 channels.
With advances in 4G and 5G mobile data, catch up services are become more accessible to smartphones and tablets. Arguably, this further reduces the need for +1 channels, as TV programmes can be accessed from any location.
Ironically, Freeview frequencies are being reallocated to 5G. Therefore, many +1 channels are likely to have to make way to ensure all channels can continue to broadcast. This means, on Freeview at least, +1 channels are unlikely to stay much longer.
I can’t find a particular need for +1 channels, and while they can at times be useful, I would rather see the space occupied by these channels put to better use.