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ITV in battle to keep the COM4 Freeview multiplex license
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Old 15-08-2021, 18:49   #1
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ITV in battle to keep the COM4 Freeview multiplex license

​According to a tweet from @ukdtt today on Twitter, ITV is in a bit of a battle to keep the COM4 operating license on Freeview. There are other interested parties.

The tweet links to an article behind a paywall apparently, so I'll see if I can get more information elsewhere.

---------- Post added at 17:49 ---------- Previous post was at 16:27 ----------

​Further to the above, the article apparently says there's a consortium interested, but doesn't mention any of the members of said consortium.

At this stage in Digital Terrestrial TV's life you've got to wonder what they wonder what the appeal is at this stage, but I've never seen the numbers, maybe ITV make a mint from it? It could just be a solid reliable return, which can be an attraction in itself for investors.
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Old 15-08-2021, 19:06   #2
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Re: ITV in battle to keep the COM4 Freeview multiplex license

That article also say:

Quote:
A consortium has launched an eleventh-hour attempt to seize the contract, and will potentially commit to a HD upgrade for Freeview.


---------- Post added at 18:06 ---------- Previous post was at 18:01 ----------

But SDN operate 26 of the c.100 television channels on Freeview.

Where will the new owner find the room to launch HD Channels on COM4 if they win?

An source has given me an link to an free copy of that article. https://forums.digitalspy.com/discus...renewal#latest 3rd one down on link.
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Last edited by Media Boy UK; 15-08-2021 at 19:43.
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Old 15-08-2021, 19:57   #3
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Re: ITV in battle to keep the COM4 Freeview multiplex license

Quote:
If we are awarded the licence, we would commit to an HD upgrade and support those vulnerable homes without HD access
lmao. All these poor vulnerable people who cannot get ITV2 in HD. Anyone think we should create a gofundme or start a petition ? If people were that bothered they would have sorted another option by now
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Old 15-08-2021, 20:21   #4
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Re: ITV in battle to keep the COM4 Freeview multiplex license

Ta. They are being cheeky with the win-win bit, you could fit 8-10 HD channels on a HD-only multiplex, but that would mean up to 10 streams less, so less selection for viewers.

This calculation is based on equivalent Cable/Satellite multiplexes with newer encoders (Virgin Media currently have 10 HD services on many of its multiplexes where theu updated encoders). As DTT usually requires more error correction that reduces bandwidth, maybe it wouldn't even be that many HD channels. The BBCB/PSB3 multiplex is currently 6 HD streams and 2 SD ones, for example.

However PSB3 is using old encoders so there is potential. It seems STV going regional in HD and BBC Scotland channel launching has seemingly meant newer encoders have been used for them in Scotland. Comparing PSB3 in Scotland to elsewhere in the UK based on the data available on DigitalBitRate, there is more headroom for new services if this change is made on a wider basis. The lower bitrates of STV and BBC Scotland/CBBC streams if copied to the other 4 HD streams would give more space, and cumulatively add up.

There seems to be a preference for more channels over better quality picture among the British public, as there's surprisingly little uproar about the sometimes awful picture on some channels, so I'd doubt they'll be happy about losing channels.

Only if the other multiplexes changed to newer technology too could the current number be maintained, though not in HD.
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Old 15-08-2021, 23:21   #5
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Re: ITV in battle to keep the COM4 Freeview multiplex license

Quote:
Originally Posted by Media Boy View Post
That article also say:



---------- Post added at 18:06 ---------- Previous post was at 18:01 ----------

But SDN operate 26 of the c.100 television channels on Freeview.

Where will the new owner find the room to launch HD Channels on COM4 if they win?

An source has given me an link to an free copy of that article. https://forums.digitalspy.com/discus...renewal#latest 3rd one down on link.
Presumably if someone new wins the right to run the multiplex, all existing channels potentially have no carriage. If the consortium think there are ten channels willing to pay a lot more (to make up for the reduction in channels and to pay the government a promised return) to be on Freeview in HD, then these channels haven't been apparent in the past. Indeed, the ITV HD variants are effectively pay only today - being only on Sky and Virgin Media - they would have to give up that revenue source as well as pay the additional sums the consortium would need.
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Old 16-08-2021, 01:33   #6
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Re: ITV in battle to keep the COM4 Freeview multiplex license

The contracts for at least som of the existing channels likely extends well past the license end on the presumption that it would be renewed and there wasn't likely to be much change in the foreseeable future. The channels themselves wouldn't want to enter into a contract with short term uncertainty, so although there will likely be a change of licensor clause, it will likely mean compensation if the new licensor decides to adopt a new strategy or technology resulting in the inability to provide space to continue their carriage.

There's unlikely to be more money to had through HD. If there had been any, market forces would've already set their provision on the main multiplexes in motion and the space made available on the Temporary HD-capable COM7 & the, now closed, COM8 would've been snapped up and the public eager to watch them.

As it is, COM7 is going to close mid 2022 at the latest as its spectrum is to be used for mobile phones, so there will be 5 less HD streams (COM7 is currently 5 HD and 7 SD streams).

Reconfiguration of PSB3 from the ground up to enable regionalisation of BBC1 HD and the main ITV in England should mean there's new encoders and more HD streams on that multiplex. Many expect the two BBC streams currently on COM7 to move to PSB3 in this scenario (so CBeebies HD/ BBC4 HD and BBC News HD).

Regional HD and those possible 2 extra streams might get some momentum into HD provision on Freeview again.
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Old 16-08-2021, 02:14   #7
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Re: ITV in battle to keep the COM4 Freeview multiplex license

And I thought any day now they’d switch off the lights on freeview.
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Old 16-08-2021, 03:20   #8
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Re: ITV in battle to keep the COM4 Freeview multiplex license

No, IIRC the BBC contracts at least still have about 11 and 16 years to run.
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Old 16-08-2021, 09:54   #9
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Re: ITV in battle to keep the COM4 Freeview multiplex license

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfman View Post
And I thought any day now they’d switch off the lights on freeview.
It's still the biggest platform, it'll be a managed decline from here though as habits and technology change it'll likely whittle down to a select number of core services. I'd imagine it'll be a handful of Live Events channels and Showcase channels eventually keeping the PSBs company, but it could take some time.

---------- Post added at 08:54 ---------- Previous post was at 08:40 ----------

It's possible that this mysterious consortium is made up of interested parties who want to quicken the changeover, thinking it'll serve several purposes
1) the upheaval will force people to adopt streaming faster as they'll be frustrated by losing several channels all of a sudden by the change.
2) they want their Showcase channels to be HD and the HD-capable DTT broadcast space required wasn't showing signs of materialising anytime soon.

The consortium could include Arqiva who recently sold up their interest in the company that run Freeview and were said to be unhappy at the direction things were going. Arqiva run COM5 and COM6 currently, so they might have teamed up to exert some control by having a say in the Commercial multiplex they don't run.

Just some guesswork, maybe completely wrong.
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