UKTV, owned by BBC Studios, has unveiled improvements for on-demand streaming platform UKTV Play. The platform allows viewers to stream programmes from free-to-air channels Dave, Drama, W, and Yesterday, as well as premium channels Alibi, Eden, and Gold for BT TV, Sky, and Virgin Media customers with the relevant subscription.
From today (Wednesday 28th September), a new look has been introduced, including an new logo. From November, high definition (HD) content will become available, initially for new released programmes, but re-encoded back catalogue content will follow shortly after, where a HD master (original copy) is available.
What is slightly unclear is how this will affect BT TV, Sky, and Virgin Media in the longer term, as HD versions of the free-to-air channels remain exclusive to paying subscribers. Perhaps this a sign that HD may eventually become free-to-air on linear TV platforms such as Freesat in the near future.
UKTV Play is available on a number of devices; including mobile phones and tablets, Apple TV, Youview, Freeview Play devices and some Freesat receivers.
As part of the split of UKTV, some Freeview channels will be changing numbers on Monday (10th June). This is part of the deal between the BBC and Discovery, with Discovery receiving the channel number 12.
Home, due to be acquired by Discovery, will take over channel 12 from Dave, which returns to its original number 19. Yesterday will in turn move from 19 to 25, which is the current ‘home’ of Home. Dave and Yesterday are to become part of the BBC’s commercial arm BBC Studios.
It is expected that Home will only be on channel 12 for a short time, with Discovery’s Quest likely to take over the slot.
BBC Studios and Discovery have announced details of how UKTV will split.
BBC Studios will take over Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, Yesterday and W. Discovery will take over Good Food, Home, and Really.
BBC Studios will take over the UKTV Play on-demand catch up service. A 10 year deal will see the BBC content launch on Discovery’s new global subscription on-demand video service, excluding the UK, Ireland, and China.
The split has been rumoured for some time, following Discovery inheriting the UKTV share that was owned by Scripps Networks.