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Channel 4 would like to turn Sky "retransmission fees" into programming

The Channel 4 corporation has joined the BBC, ITV plc and Channel 5 in asking Sky to remove the fees that the satellite gatekeeper charges the public service providers for their schedule data.

The Channel 4 corporation has joined the BBC, ITV plc and Chann
published on UK Free TV

According to C4 breaks 'retransmission fees' silence - News - Broadcast, Channel 4's Dan Brooke told a VLV event that:

"At the moment, we don’t have a say in it – we are given a rate card, which is agreed by Ofcom and Sky. If that money wasn’t going out of the door we’d be delighted, and would put that money back into programming. Fees were introduced to give Sky a leg up when they first launched here – I don’t think anyone would say they need a leg up anymore. "

Brooke was joined on the panel by academic Steven Barnett, who pushed fervently for retransmission fees to be dropped, describing the current situation as “ludicrous”.

He called for existing "must offer" rules that apply to all the PSBs to be matched by "must carry" rules from platforms at "zero terms".

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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

12:13 PM

Duncan: Following the ruling, Broadcasting territorial exclusivity with a decoder card is contrary to EU law | - independent free digital TV advice , the legal advice I have received says that the "geocode" limits that the BBC and other broadcasters place on their live TV streams is probably now clearly unlawful.

This has also been established in the court cases by ITV plc (and others) against TVCatchup - Never Miss A Show Again - the "retransmission" provision does include internet distribution.

The systems in Spain, which I have heard about, were clearly illegal as they were providing subscription channels (Sky Sports 1 and 2) for a payment that was 100% illegal.

Normally the "retransmission channels" are provided over cable systems, and as long as they are provided in all packages, this is seen as "not requiring an additional payment" above the "access charge".

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
5:00 PM

Brian, that's and interesting change and one which can't exactly please Sky et-al.

As far as I understand from the system being used in the Alicante area, "subscribers" are paying for the rental of the equipment which decrypts their signal and not for the programmes themselves Perhaps this is how this operator is getting away with it as I'm sure Sky are well aware of it. From locals I also got the impression the Spanish authorities don't care about the copyright violation as long as the correct taxes are paid and greasy palms suitably rewarded. The previous incarnation was busted because they hadn't looked after these important details.

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Duncan's 14 posts GB flag
7:04 PM

You do wish to live in a different world,
your right to think that way, But do not run away with the idea that it will make a better TV system, I have worked and travelled in many countries and believe me The UK system is still one of the best if not THE best. Many people do not wish your system implemented here in the UK, there is quite enough commercial inroads and we need a counterbalance,healthy for democracy, have you seen Fox news?

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kentman's 11 posts GB flag

8:55 PM

Fox news is so funny, it's only people without a brain that belive it, trouble is thats 95% of the US population and would be 85% of the UK population.

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Ian's 497 posts GB flag
Ian's: mapI's Freeview map terrainI's terrain plot wavesI's frequency data I's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Thursday, 27 October 2011
11:51 AM

Mr Kentman

you keep going on about living in different worlds, I can only conclude you work for the BBC and that would explain everything.

The world is changing and especially in broadcast technology there is much choice, not all good I have to agree, however a funding model which started in the 1930's and did indeed serve the UK well up until the end of the 1980's is no longer suitable in the 21st century with hundreds of channels available.

Would you agree the quality of BBC TV output is nowhere as creative, original and innovative as it was in the 1960's to 80's?
Providing them with more channels and generous guaranteed funding of ten million pounds per day has ruined their focus and drive. It was in the era of John Burt that they decided they were no longer a public service broadcaster as such but a 'Brand' and changed their logo and corporate structure such that we now have very highly paid executives with non-job titles such as "Head of Vision".

Just as in other public services such as the Royal Mail we now have people running them who have no idea of how the organisation works from the ground up as they have little or no expereince of working on the shop floor.

They are like a great ocean liner that has lost its rudder and the captain and crew have no idea where they are. It's full steam ahead for now but sooner or later the crash will come.

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Duncan's 14 posts GB flag
1:53 PM

Hi Brian,

Off Topic and on the subject of 5.1 on BBC HD as mentioned by Tony Hill and replied to by you earlier

"Tony Hill: The BBC only transmit programmes that have 5.1 sound with 5.1 sound, using 2.0 for everything else.
The BBC does not believe that the consumer is well served by making a pseudo-5.1 mix."

I noticed the other day that during the HD Chanel Preview Loop there was a section of "Top Gear" in 5.1
I happened to have that episode recorded and checked back to find it was in 2.0 as I recalled ! So either BBC are pseudo-5.1 mixing for the loop or they are downmixing for the broadcast !

Also "Later ... With Jools H" is being broadcast in 5.1 while "Later Live ... With Jools H" is in 2.0
Immediately following the 2.0 "Live" edition was an HD Channel Promo
'Lovingly Crafted For High Definition' : "How does Surround Sound affect Later With Jools Holland in High Definition ?"


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p3tr3v's 15 posts GB flag
3:20 PM

Hi Brian

My observations are from Freeview. They are probably legally OK as they say

"How does Surround Sound affect Later With Jools Holland in High Definition ?"

and the 2.0 programme is of course differently titled as "Later Live ..." it is however misleading to follow the 2.0 program with this promo (in my opinion!)

The Preview Loop is 5.1 on Freeview via my system as we type . . .

Keep up the good work.

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p3tr3v's 15 posts GB flag

3:20 PM

p3tr3v: My amp shows "DOLBY DIGITAL [3/2]" (ie 5.1) when the promo loop is running, which I have just checked.

I will test the channel later with some other programmes to see how they actually come up.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag

3:33 PM

p3tr3v: I thought Freeview HD was supposed to be 2.0 because the capacity required to also provide audio description?

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Mike Dimmick

4:35 PM

Briantist: Audio description is a secondary mono stream that starts and stops as required. That's true of SD services as well as HD services. For HD, audio description is encoded as HE-AAC - the requirement to use AAC-LC for the main audio stream is that chipsets generally can handle two different streams of AAC at the same time, they can't handle one AAC and one Dolby.

In Ofcom's Second Invitation to Apply, they included a 'Timing of the Fourth HD Service' document:


which states (section 3.9) that 32 kbps would be allocated for audio description, in addition to the 192-384 kbps for the main multi-channel audio.

This was obviously before the service launched, so estimates were necessary. The 'Timing of the fifth HD service' document is very thin in comparison, because they're just saying 'the BBC said it was OK'.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
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