ITV have announced a brand new pay channel, ITV Encore, due to be launched this year on Sky.
ITV Encore will air the best of ITV’s British drama – the official announcement says “the new channel will be home to some of ITV’s most successful drama series of recent years. From 2015, it will also screen original commissions with the ITV hallmark of high quality production values, big name lead actors and compelling narratives penned by some of the UK’s best writers”.
ITV content will also now be made available through Sky’s range of connected products – Sky+HD, Sky Go, NOW TV and Sky Store. Carriage renewals have also been announced for ITV2, ITV4, ITV4 and ITV’s catchup & on demand services on the Sky+HD platform.
ITV Chief Executive Adam Crozier has said “the time is absolutely right to build on our successful partnership with Sky with the launch of ITV Encore, which will be an important part of ITV’s family of channels, and will complement ITV3, home to our long-running, classic drama series. ITV Encore is right in line with our strategy of growing non advertising revenues while at the same time creating even greater opportunities to showcase new drama”.
Although the new channel is advertised as a “pay channel” this will likely just mean you’ll need to be a Sky customer (i.e. not free-to-view or free-to-air), and not have to pay a subscription for the channel itself.
Click here to read ITV’s announcement in full.
Channel 5 have announced plans to launch a new channel this February.
The new channel will be a 24 hour timeshift of Channel 5 showing the previous evening’s primetime programmes.
Channel 5 +24 will launch on Tuesday 4th February and will air from 7pm every evening through to around midnight/1am.
It will be available on Freeview channel 55, Freesat channel 132, Sky channel 175 and Virgin channel 152 – Virgin is expected to drop 5* +1 to make way for Channel 5 +24 and Sky is expected to drop either 5USA +1 or 5* +1.
The channel will also be available from 10am to 7pm on some platforms (such as Freeview), but will only air teleshopping during that time.
BBC News HD launched just before Christmas along with BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, CBBC HD and CBeebies HD.
However, when it launched it was added on Sky channel 570 instead of directly replacing the SD version which usually happens.
The decision was made by the BBC to launch it on channel 570 just in case there were any issues with the launch just before Christmas throwing BBC News off-air during a breaking news story.
Now it’s January the HD swap has been made – BBC News HD is now on Sky channel 503 and the SD version is now on Sky channel 570.
This is only the case for HD customers of course – non-HD customers will still have the SD channel on Sky 503 and the placeholder for the HD channel on Sky 570.
MGM HD will cease broadcasting from next week – the evening of Thursday 16th January – it has been confirmed on their official Facebook page. The channel is currently available on Sky channel 313.
In the Facebook announcement, they say “It goes without saying that we at MGM HD are very sad to confirm this news, and we would like to send out our heartfelt thanks to all of our (very passionate!) fans for all your comments, praise, and support over these last four years – we hope you’ve enjoyed watching our channel as much as we’ve loved programming it for you!”.
MGM HD launched in December 2009 in joint partnership with British Sky Broadcasting, and was somewhat unique in that it launched only in high definition with no standard definition channel available.
Channels have now rebranded back to their pre-Christmas names:
– Sky Movies Christmas is back as Sky Movies Drama & Romance (including HD)
– Nick Jr Xmas is back as Nick Jr
– Blissmas is back as Bliss
– Christmas 24 is back as Movies 24
– Christmas 24+ is back as Movies 24+
– MTV Xmas is back as MTV Classic
– NOW Christmas is back as NOW Music