Channel 5 re-qualifies for listed sports coverage

Inclusion on the Freeview mobile app secures Channel 5's right to broadcast listed sporting events.

Channel 5, owned by Viacom, was excluded from Ofcom's list of qualifying services this summer, which meant the channel couldn't bid for sports rights for events on the regulator's list of protected events that must be broadcast on free-to-air television.

Channels that are allowed to show such events, which include the Olympic Games, Football World Cup and Wimbledon Tennis, previously had to reach over 95% of the UK on a free-to-air basis, which they could do by being broadcast from every TV transmitter, including all relays, as well as being available on free-to-air satellite.

In the summer, regulator Ofcom decided that channels also needed to be widely available as a free-to-access stream, accessible for example on mobile devices. The regulator found that Channel 5 didn't have a widely available stream, so could no longer qualify.

Today it was confirmed that Viacom had intervened to confirm that the fifth terrestrial TV channel will soon be launching on the Freeview mobile app which will deep link to both linear streams and video-on-demand content. Channel 5 linear streams will be integrated into My5.

As a result, Channel 5 is now permitted to show listed events should it wish to pursue the rights.

All BBC channels, plus ITV (STV/UTV), Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, E4, More4 and Film4 are now permitted to screen listed events if they want to. Other channels don't qualify as they don't enjoy full Freeview coverage (i.e. many other Freeview channels only reach around 90% of UK households as they are not included on all relays. Even with satellite and online streaming, these channels are not deemed to be able to reach over 95% of all households.