MovieMix has now launched with a schedule that is identical to free-to-air satellite channel More>Movies - the channel formally known as Men&Movies. Idents and promotional trailers remain separate on both channels, although both services share the same advertising.
A possible link between MovieMix and More>Movies was mentioned on this website last week as news of the More>Movies re-brand on the 10th January spread. The re-brand heralded a revised schedule comprising of a mix of movies and US documentaries and series, including "Storm Warning" and "Baywatch".
More>Movies (More Than Movies) is owned by Sony Pictures Television, who also operate Sony Entertainment Television, Movies4Men and Sony Movie Channel in the UK. Movies4Men is currently available on Freeview in the Greater Manchester area, but Sony Entertainment Channel is only available on Sky and Virgin Media and Sony Movie Channel only on Sky. More>Movies predecessor channel Men&Movies was briefly carried in Manchester on Freeview.
In the current arrangement on Freeview channel 32, Sony provides "a programming block" to MovieMix owner Square 1, who continue to hold the licence.
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How and why channel 32 has changed
Freeview channel 32 was previously labelled Big Deal. It was the home of a phone-in quiz show and its licence was held by Square 1 Management Ltd. The original content suffered as a result of scandals relating to phone-in quiz shows on other channels, and once the quiz was axed, the channel was retained as a placeholder service carrying teleshopping and participation TV shows. It switched multiplexes and broadcast hours several times, benefiting from surplus capacity on Freeview.
Toward the end of last year, the channel began showing classic movies during its night time slot. In December, the channel was relabelled Movie Mix, went 24 hours and brought viewers pre-Christmas teleshopping from Speed Auction TV.
Under rules governing the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), new channels are awarded channel numbers behind existing services, unless the new channel is a sister channel of an existing channel on Freeview and there is an available channel number further up the EPG.
Recognising that channel content can change over time, the rules allow for channels to gradually change their format and remain at their existing channel number, providing they don't change to a format that would fit under an alternative genre on Freeview's TV Guide, such as news or children's TV. Factual channel UKTV History morphed into factual and entertainment channel Yesterday and Sky Travel became Sky Three, then PICK TV under such rules. Big Deal's transition into Movie Mix follows the same pattern.
By gradually turning one channel into another as seen on Freeview channel 32, Sony Pictures Television gets access to Freeview without being shunted to the back of the entertainment channels, behind services such as Argos TV and Marketplace.
According to Sony, the channel is still operated by Square 1 Management, with Sony supplying "a programming block" to the channel.
It is possible that in the long term, the channel will be completely aligned with its Freesat counterpart with both services at some point operating under the same name. Then the transition will be truly complete.
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Movie Mix Ident
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