BBC Three to be axed as a TV channel

BBC ThreeIt’s been announced BBC Three will be axed as a TV channel and become an online-only entity from next year, subject to the approval of the BBC Trust.

BBC Director General Tony Hall confirmed BBC Three will close on all TV platforms “from autumn 2015″ to make £50 million a year in savings with £30 million of that going to BBC One drama.

The BBC have stressed however this isn’t the end for BBC Three and that it will be “reinvented as a new and innovative online service”.

In addition the space freed up on TV platforms after the closure will be used “to extend CBBC by an hour a night and to provide a BBC One +1 service”.

In an email to BBC staff, BBC Director General Tony Hall said:

“I’m convinced that the BBC as a creative organisation will be able to reinvent a space for young people on the iPlayer that will be bold, innovative and distinctive. It will not just be a TV channel distributed online – it will be an opportunity to look at new forms, formats, different durations, and more individualised and interactive content. It will play to BBC Three’s strengths, offer something distinctive and new, and enhance the BBC’s reputation with young audiences. And I will challenge everyone in the BBC to spend much more time focusing on programming for young audiences. We will lead the way”.

Click here to read the press release in full.


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ITV announces new channel ITVBe

ITVITV have confirmed another new channel launch weeks after announcing ITV Encore.

The new channel announced today is ITVBe which will be a free-to-air channel “featuring the best entertaining lifestyle and reality programming from the UK and the US” according to the official ITV press release.

ITV say “the new channel, which is likely to appeal to a younger, female audience, will also feature acquired content, including the US Real Housewives franchise, which currently airs in daytime on ITV2… ITVBe will complement ITV2 which will continue to strengthen its position as the home of unashamed entertainment for 16-34 year olds, focusing on scripted series, irreverent panel shows and formats, and youth skewing commissions and acquisitions with bold humour at their heart”.

ITVBe will also become the exclusive home for The Only Way Is Essex.

The difference between ITVBe and ITV Encore is the latter is a pay channel – this will likely 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 – whereas ITVBe will be completely free.

ITV say ITVBe will launch towards the end of the year and will be “available free on all the major broadcasting platforms, including Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media”.

Read the ITV press release in full.


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Channel 5 +24 has launched

Channel 5′s new 24-hour timeshift service has launched and some changes have occurred since the original announcement.

Originally the channel was thought to be going off-air on Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media when teleshopping is broadcast between 10am and 7pm on other platforms – restrictions prevent that amount of teleshopping in one block on Sky and presumably Virgin Media takes its feed from the Sky version of the channel so that’s why cable is included in this “version” of Channel 5 +24.

However, Channel 5 +24 will now have different daytime schedules depending on which platform you’re watching on:

- Teleshopping airs through to 7pm on Freeview/Youview.

- Teleshopping doesn’t air in the 3am-6am, 10am-1pm and 4pm-7pm blocks on Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media, instead airing additional programming not broadcast on Freeview/Youview.

Channel 5 +24Channel 5 +24 replaces 5* +1 on Freesat, Sky & Virgin Media and broadcasts recent programmes shown on Channel 5 including the previous day’s schedule between 7pm and midnight. Find it on Freeview channel 55, Freesat 133, Sky 175 and Virgin Media 152.


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ITV Encore launching this year

ITVITV 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.


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Channel 5 +24 to launch next month

Channel 5 have announced plans to launch a new channel this February.

Channel 5The 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.


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