STV could move to freeview channel 8 under digital TV shake-up plans

Picture: STV
Picture: STV
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STV could see its local television stations given a more prominent position on Freeview under plans put out for consultation.

The broadcaster operates STV Edinburgh and STV Glasgow, which can currently be found on channel 23.

This contrasts with local services in England and Northern Ireland, which are available on channel 8, the spot occupied by Gaelic station BBC Alba in Scotland.

Industry body Digital UK has launched consultation seeking views on moving the local stations to a lower number once channel 7, currently occupied by BBC Three, becomes available.

Last month, the BBC Trust confirmed its decision to transition BBC Three to an online-only service next year.

Digital UK has put forward two options for what to do with the vacant slot.

Its preferred option is for BBC Alba to move up one space to channel 7.

STV’s local stations would then move from channel 23 to take up residence at channel 8, under the proposal.

A second option would see BBC Alba on channel 7, BBC Four on channel 8 and the local Scottish services on channel 9.

The consultation stated: “Digital UK has identified two options for a managed allocation process.

“We believe the two presented in this consultation paper achieve the best outcomes for the platform and its viewers.”

Responses to the consultation must be submitted by Friday January 22.

A spokesman for STV said: “Discoverability is essential for local television services to be commercially sustainable. Although STV Edinburgh and STV Glasgow already have an established audience, it is vital that these channels move to the front page of the electronic programme guide, providing parity with services in England and Northern Ireland.

“We welcome Digital UK’s consultation and will engage with it fully to ensure our channels with their PSB commitments are allocated a front-page slot on the electronic programme guide as soon BBC Three goes online.”