Channel 4 to launch "shuffle" channel on Freeview


Following initial reports in the media last week, this week has brought more confirmation that Channel 4 is planning to launch a "shuffle" TV channel, which enables viewers to watch Channel 4's primetime content on different days of the week.

For example, if Grand Designs aired on a Tuesday on Channel 4, the new shuffle channel would air the programme on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Designed to complement the existing +1 channel, the service would help casual viewers who might have otherwise have watched a Channel 4 programme had it not been up against a more interesting programme on BBC One or ITV1, for example. Advertisers are said to be keen on the channel idea.

Reports suggest that a Freeview slot for the new service, which hasn't yet got an official name, has been secured and that the service could be on air by June.

On Freeview, Channel 4 has 7 slots for Channel 4, +1, More 4, E4, E4+1, Film 4 and one for its 4 Music channel (part of The Box network run with Bauer Media). It could replace E4+1, or it could use new Freeview capacity which is coming online later this year.

In post-switchover regions, there is currently almost 9Mbps of unused capacity on Arqiva's "A" multiplex, also known by the catchy "COM5" name by industry insiders, 3Mbps on ITV owned SDN outside of Wales and a possible slot on the universal D3&4 multiplex, which Channel 4 itself transmits from, created by the loss of the Public Teletext service.

Talks are ongoing with satellite and cable providers with regards carriage, with the new shuffle service considered to be a possible candidate for the "Current TV" slot on the Sky EPG.

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