In July 2019, Ofcom published a statement on changes to the EPG Code. The statement set out minimum levels of prominence for public service broadcaster (‘PSB’) channels, which must be in place by 4 January 2021.
Digital UK’s channel listing already meets each of these obligations, except one: BBC Four must be in the first 24 LCNs.
In our listing, BBC Four is at LCN 9 in every part of the UK except Scotland, where LCN 9 is allocated to BBC Scotland and LCN 55 is allocated to BBC Four.
- We consulted on revising the LCN Policy, to create a method of allocating slots to PSBs in accordance with the new EPG Code.
- We proposed to use that method in order to create a slot for BBC Four in Scotland at LCN 24, as required by Ofcom.
- We proposed that every channel between LCN 24 and BBC Four in Scotland (which is currently allocated LCN 55) would move up by one slot in the whole of the UK in early November 2020, and that Digital UK and Freeview would co-ordinate the technical changes and provide support through a national retune campaign.
The consultation has now closed.
We decided that our proposals remained the fairest way to meet our regulatory obligations. We have therefore decided to implement the proposals.
The LCN Policy has been updated with immediate effect to create a new method of allocating slots to PSBs in accordance with the new EPG Code.
- Every channel between LCN 24 and LCN 54 will move up by one slot in the whole of the UK on 4 November 2020.
- Digital UK, working with Freeview, will co-ordinate the technical changes and provide support through a national retune campaign. Activity will include a combination of on-screen retune messages, provision of information on the Freeview website, online advertising, social media activity, and troubleshooting advice via a team of agents at the Freeview Advice Line.
- We will work closely with the channel providers affected on how they can also inform their viewers, and we will ensure that all channel-led activity is co-ordinated with the wider campaign.
Two respondents informed us that they will write to Ofcom to request an extension of the implementation deadline. In the event that Ofcom grants such an extension, we will inform channel providers and carefully reconsider the timing of the LCN changes.
Non-confidential responses to the consultation
|Almedia Christiano (member of the public)||ITV|
|BBC||Josh Welby (member of the public)|
|BT||Steve Quinney (member of the public)|
|Channel 4||Taylor Bray (member of the public)|
|Chris Young (member of the public)||TG4|