BSkyB’s new DTT pay-TV offering will use compression technology to squeeze four services out of the spectrum currently used by its three Freeview channels – Sky Three, Sky News and Sky Sports News.
Customers will pay a monthly subscription to get the service through a conventional rooftop aerial and a digital TV box.
To access the service, customers will have to buy a new set-top box that includes the relevant conditional access software and MPEG4 decoder – suggesting it will not be available via existing Freeview DTT receivers.
It emerged late yesterday that from the Spring, if Ofcom approves, Sky News will no longer be available free to viewers on Freeview.
They currently get around 845,000 viewers a week on this platform out of their weekly total of 4 million. For us at the BBC, I think this is a double-edged sword.
Sky have already rather given up on viewing figures as BBC News 24 has moved substantially ahead of them (6 million a week versus 4 million). Whereas, a few years ago audience size was their preferred measure of success, it has now been quietly dropped. The move on Freeview will almost certainly be another big blow to their audience size.
I can fully understand why Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB have taken this decision on commercial grounds alone: you can make money out of movies and sport but not easily from news. However, I do think it’s a real shame for TV News coverage in the UK.
We are very fortunate to have two thriving 24-hour TV News channels and I firmly believe competition is a good thing for the audience. Sky’s decision will be a bad thing for news audiences, particularly those who can’t afford subscription services and choose Freeview for that reason. I would just say that for us at BBC News 24, we put immense value on our audiences and their views – and will continue to do so whatever platform they watch us on.
i cant belive they are getting rid of sky news of freeview i think its stupid my favrouite news channel was itv new channel then that got axed and now they are getting rid of sky news why??????????????????????????????????????????????????? i refuse to watch news24 its okay if u r about 50 but i ent i cant belive it how stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111