Free access to channels including ITV2, Dave and E4 guaranteed for next decade

·2-min read

TV fans will continue to have access to channels such as ITV2, Dave and E4 for free as Freeview licences have been renewed for another decade.

Public service and commercial broadcasters can continue to deliver content free-to-air to audiences across the UK after ministers decided the Freeview platform will be supported until at least 2034.

This means free access for viewers to digital TV channels is protected into the next decade.

ITV2 is home to ratings hit Love Island, while the Married At First Sight series airs on E4.

Love Island 2021
Love Island is one of ITV2’s biggest shows (ITV)

Dave is home to Big Zuu’s Big Eats and Unforgiveable, as well as re-runs of Top Gear and Taskmaster.

The Government has given Ofcom the power to renew the five national multiplex licences for the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform – better known as Freeview.

TV multiplexes are digital networks which allow many TV channels to be compressed and transmitted all at once over a single radio frequency.

Media minister John Whittingdale said: “Today we are guaranteeing the future of Freeview TV and a diverse range of much-loved news, entertainment and documentary channels well into the 2030s.

“Securing the future of Freeview means people can continue to enjoy its great content while we also protect a vital medium for our public service broadcasters so they can serve audiences in the years to come.”

The Government has also announced it will legislate to make ownership of one of the multiplexes, Multiplex 2 – which is currently jointly owned by Channel 4 and ITV and carries channels including ITV 2, Film 4, E4 and More4 – contingent on being for public service broadcasting.

The move aims to ensure public service broadcasters (PSBs) such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 always have a space on the Freeview platform.

The move comes as the Government is consulting on plans to privatise Channel 4.

The channel, which was founded in 1982 to deliver to under-served audiences, is owned by the Government and receives its funding from advertising.

Potential investors are likely to include big American companies.

Also included in the renewal are Multiplexes C and D, which include Sky News, Al Jazeera and new channel GB News.

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