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Digital Television

TV3, TG4, Film Channel & Oireachtas Among Proposed New DTT Channels
22 Aug 2011 :
The BAI have published reports and recommendations following expressions of interest from broadcast content providers and other interested parties who wished to provide content for the Digital Terrestrial Television Platform in Ireland.

The report is the result of an Order directed by former Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in February 2011 and the BAI recommendations are from April 2011.

It analyses submissions for television services which were proposed by TV3, TG4, DCTV/NvTv, Mark Pilkington (Chilli Hits), Éamonn Geoghegan and Irish TV and gives recommendations based on technical and financial capabilities, public service requirements and a possible timescale for implantation.

TV3 submitted expressions of interest for three channels (3Kids/3Classic, TV3+1, TV3HD) which the BAI “are satisfied to recommend that the TV3 proposals be considered by the Minister for carriage on RTÉ DTT multiplexes.” with TG4 submitting one expression of interest for mixed channel (Young People and +1), which the BAI “recommends that the Minister would consider the inclusion of this service on the multiplex, subject to a satisfactory outcome of a sectoral impact assessment and public value review.”

The report also sees the BAI recommend that the RTÉ proposal that content providers should be charged on a pro-rata basis across the DTT platform (rather than on an individual multiplex basis) is not sustainable. It also reports that this will make it unlikely that any services other than those proposed by RTÉ will be in a position to be carried on the RTÉ DTT multiplex.

The BAI deferred the recommendation of the Film Channel and Oireachtas channel to the Minister, stating it was not “within the capability of the BAI to resolve this issue” regarding the funding for the services. The BAI also recommended that “in terms of multiplex capacity, it would be possible to carry between four and eight additional SD television channels and some radio services. If capacity is reserved, for an Oireachtas and Film Channel, then the number of potential additional television channels reduces to between three and six.“With regard to the proposed services emerging from the expressions of interest process, these are not likely to be in a position to commence operations until near to or beyond analogue switch off in October 2012. In these circumstances, the question of the requirement to introduce the second RTÉ multiplex in 2011 should be considered further by the Minister.”

The full report and recommendations, including all submissions of interest, can be viewed here.

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