A goodbye to Teletext Holidays on Freeview

Teletext Holidays leaves Freeview, continues online
Teletext Holidays leaves Freeview, continues online
  updated: 12:33

After nearly twenty years on air, Teletext Holidays has ceased transmission on terrestrial television. The service on Freeview channel 201 ended at midnight. 

Teletext Holidays continues online at www.teletextholidays.co.uk and via apps on some digital TV/ smart TV platforms such as Virgin Media's TiVo service. Its Freeview channel has been taken over by Holidays TV, although at the time of this article update, still had references to Teletext Holidays on its index page.

Both Teletext and the company behind Holidays TV have Daily Mail publisher DGMT as shareholders, who also launched Mail Travel TV on Freeview earlier this year.

Teletext Holidays began its life as a section of the Teletext service on analogue ITV in 1993, following Teletext Ltd's successful bid for a licence in the 1991 ITV franchise rounds, replacing the Oracle text service.

During the late 1990s, the service reached the peak of its popularity, reaching millions of viewers via the ITV network, Channel 4 and S4C. The introduction of the internet saw audiences decline, with savvy travellers able to book a bargain at numerous new travel sites.

Once Freeview had arrived on the scene, Teletext sought to improve its previously very basic digital text service. Some early Freeview boxes struggled to deal with advanced digital text applications and Teletext complained that its allocated capacity on ITV and Channel 4's digital multiplex wasn't enough to be able to replicate the full service as seen on analogue TV services.

Teletext Holidays ended up separated on the SDN commercial multiplex, and at one point sported a voice over and music.

In 2009, Ofcom stated "The increasing availability of text based services, both broadcast and online may mean that post 2014 there is no longer clear justification for continued intervention to maintain a public service teletext licence."  Later that year, Teletext announced that it was discontinuing its news and information service, leaving Teletext Holidays and other commercial ventures to survive. A management buyout earlier in 2012 was followed by now minority  Teletext shareholder DGMT (proprietors of the Daily Mail) launching Mail Travel TV. Teletext Holidays subsequently lost a substantial part of its Freeview bandwidth, leading to slower loading times and no more background music.

Then in September, news in trade circles trickled out that Teletext Holidays would be replaced by Holidays TV on Freeview. The aervice moved to Freeview channel 201 on the 19th September.

In the end there are now three "Holiday Text" companies:
  • Teletext Holidays (online and apps)
  • Mail Travel TV (Freeview, linked to Daily Mail)
  • Holidays TV (Freeview, run by a subsidary of the Daily Mail group DGMT).

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