Channel 5 will today join Digital UK Ltd, alongside BBC, ITV and Channel 4. The four public service broadcasters have entered into a new Digital UK members’ agreement, marking the first time that the venture has been wholly owned by all four PSBs.
Earlier this year Digital UK merged with Freesat (UK) Ltd to bring the two free-to-view TV organisations together, with the aim of ensuring that viewers continue to have access to a range of free-to-view TV services in the UK, while also benefitting from technological innovations and developments across the two platforms.
Channel 5 – which is owned by ViacomCBS Inc. – joins Digital UK with immediate effect.
Caroline Thomson, Chair of Digital UK said: “We’re delighted to welcome Channel 5 to Digital UK and thank all our members for their continuing support. The future of free-to-view television is critical to providing all UK viewers with high-quality British content and we look forward to working with all public service broadcasters to develop and deliver continually evolving and compelling free TV services across Freeview and Freesat.”
Sarah Rose, Chief Commercial & Operations Officer, ViacomCBS UK, said: “We’re delighted Channel 5 has joined the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to help shape the future of free-to-view TV as part of Digital UK. Channel 5 plays a distinctive role in public service broadcasting in the UK and, as part of ViacomCBS can bring a unique perspective to the opportunities that lie ahead.
About Channel 5
Channel 5 is a public service broadcaster and the UK’s third largest commercial TV station. Launched in March 1997, Channel 5 has been owned by ViacomCBS Inc. since September 2014. Channel 5, 5STAR, 5USA, 5Select and My5 TV reach 3 in 4 of the UK viewing public each month with a diverse schedule including issue-led documentaries, popular factual, accessible history, stunning natural history, inclusive entertainment and reality, top level sport, high quality scripted programming and critically acclaimed children’s, news and current affairs programming.
Through its agenda-driving commissions, Channel 5 has led on societal issues from inequality to inner city gang life, homelessness to mental health, aiming to tell the story of modern Britain by reflecting the lives of people across the nation. In 2018, Channel 5 won its first BAFTA for Cruising with Jane McDonald and was named ‘Channel of the Year’ at the Edinburgh TV Festival. In 2019, Chanel 5 won best documentary award for The Abused at the RTS Awards, Edinburgh TV Awards and the Association of International Broadcasters Awards. In 2020, Channel 5 was crowned ‘Channel of the Year’ at the Broadcast Awards and ‘Channel of the Year’ at the RTS awards. In addition, it secured its first ever Grierson award win in the ‘Best Single Documentary – Domestic’ category with Suicidal: In Our Own Words. In 2021, Springtime On The Farm was named ‘Best Lockdown Programme - Factual Entertainment, Popular Factual & Kids’ at the Broadcast Awards.
About Digital UK Ltd
Digital UK is the joint venture which leads the future development of free TV in the UK. Working in partnership with many organisations across the industry, its focus is on delivering resilient, universal, high-quality and innovative free TV services for all UK viewers.
Following the acquisition of Freesat in the summer of 2021, Digital UK is responsible for the day-to-day management of both the UK’s leading free-to-view platforms, Freeview and Freesat. Each brings together the best of the UK’s free content, live and on-demand, from leading broadcasters, including the UK’s public service broadcasters. Freeview Play is available on the majority of smart TVs sold in the UK and features 30,000 hours of on-demand content while Freesat’s 4K TV Boxes are recordable and provide 100% coverage. In a TV landscape increasingly dominated by global players offering pay services, Digital UK plays a key role in delivering consumer choice and supporting the UK’s main broadcasters by showcasing their content, driving share and prominence.
For more information about Freeview, Freesat and the work of Digital UK, please visit: www.freeview.co.uk/corporate