Extended hours for BBC Three for London 2012 coverage

BBC Three will extend its broadcast hours for the duration of the Olympic Games next year.

The BBC have announced BBC Three will be on the air throughout the day to provide coverage for London 2012. BBC Three doesn’t usually start until 7pm in the evening.

BBC Three will supply extended coverage of the Games and that will continue through to 11pm each day. The channel’s normal non-sport programming will continue as normal after 11pm.

News bulletins (BBC Three’s 60 Seconds programme) will continue on the hour every hour throughout the day.

London 2012 runs from the 19th July to the 12th August.

The extended BBC Three hours means BBC Parliament will be removed from Freeview during that period due to the limited capacity on Digital Terrestrial.

BBC Three will revert back to its normal 7pm start time after the 12th August, and BBC Parliament will return to Freeview.

The BBC have also announced a new DAB digital radio station that will be on the air for around 20 days throughout the Olympics. The new station will be called BBC Radio 5 Live Olympics Extra and will run alongside BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

BBC Three

Challenge to air 24/7 on Welsh Freeview

Freeview customers in Wales will be able to watch Challenge 24 hours a day from the 15th September for the first time. Challenge has been available in other parts of the UK 24/7 since launch, but they never had the capacity in Wales to launch the channel fully from the outset.

Challenge’s official Facebook page confirmed the news.


Scripps Networks Interactive gets Virgin’s UKTV stake

Virgin Media has sold its stake in UKTV to Scripps Networks Interactive. The deal, worth £339m, sees Scripps Networks Interactive take Virgin Media’s 50% stake in UKTV.

Scripps Networks Interactive already own other channels such as Food Network which recently made its Freeview debut.

The other 50% share of UKTV is still owned by BBC Worldwide – the BBC’s commercial arm.

Kenneth W. Lowe, chairman of Scripps Networks Interactive, says “making a solid investment in UKTV and entering into a strong partnership with BBC Worldwide reinforces our core international strategy which we believe will create significant long-term value for our shareholders”.

It was originally thought Discovery would get the UKTV stake, but Scripps pipped them to the post.

What will this change mean for the UKTV channels? Will we see more UKTV channels on Freeview? Will certain channels close such as Good Food which has the same remit as Scripps’s own Food Network channel?


PBS to launch UK channel in November

PBS are launching a UK version of their popular US channel on Sky on the 1st November.

It will be a public service channel, like its American counterpart, and will air the back catalogue of PBS programmes from the States.

Variety reports PBS UK’s general manager Richard Kingsbury says there will be a “broad programming output reflecting that of its U.S. counterpart… many will have watched PBS shows acquired by other channels without realizing it… with the vast majority of PBS’s back catalog still to premiere in the U.K., there is a tremendous wealth of epic true stories available to craft a highly valued channel here”.

PBS UK will be added to the entertainment section of Sky’s EPG from November.

For further news and to register your interest in the channel please go to www.pbs.co.uk.

To see the schedule for the US version of PBS (to give a taste of what’s to come on PBS UK), click here.


UKTV – New HD channels and Anytime+ deal

UKTV will be launching three new HD channels on Sky in the coming months.

Watch HD and Dave HD are due to be launched in October this year and Alibi HD will be available some time next year.

The new HD channels will join UKTV’s existing high definition offerings Eden HD and Good Food HD on Sky.

In addition to the new HD channels, UKTV have also announced a selection of their programme catalogue will be made available on demand for the first time as part of Sky’s Anytime+ service (available to Sky broadband customers through their set top box).

On demand content will start appearing on Sky Anytime+ this September.

The official UKTV press release says:

“Initially launching with hundreds of hours of programming throughout the year cherry picked from across its network, UKTV’s VoD service which will be refreshed on a monthly basis and nine box sets will be made available to Sky Anytime+ viewers every year. UKTV’s service will offer crown jewels from the BBC archive, well regarded third party acquisitions and high-profile UKTV commissions, such as: Fawlty Towers and Fry and Laurie: Reunited on Gold; Doctor Who and Total Wipeout USA on Watch; New Tricks and Murdoch Mysteries on Alibi; Top Gear and Argumental on Dave; Planet Earth and The Long Way Round on Eden; Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and My Flat Pack Home on Home; and Rick Stein’s French Odyssey and Rachel Allen: Bake! on Good Food”. Click here to read UKTV’s press release in full.

Bid TV, Price-Drop TV and Speed Auction TV

The Sit-Up group of channels have been rebranded.

All three channels have removed their “TV” suffixes so the channels are now called Bid, Price Drop and Speed Auction.

Sit-Up Channels