Yesterday, Sky viewers reported that Channel 5 HD had moved to channel 105 from 171 across the whole of the UK, as part of a EPG swap for Sky HD subscribers in all UK regions. Such a move would have made regional advertising unavailable on channel 105 for affected viewers in northern England, London, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
However, since reporting the news yesterday, it's been confirmed to us that the Channel 5 regions, which have been in service since the channel launched in 1997, have been closed down, as Viacom considers them financially unviable. Those within the TV advertising industry were informed of these changes in May 2015, which finally took place on 1st August 2015, following the announcement that Sky Media would handle advertising sales for Channel 5 from this summer.
Channel 5 previously split its service into five regions: London, South/Central England and Wales, Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, enabling advertisers to target specific regions, as they can do on ITV / STV / UTV, Channel 4 / S4C and local TV stations.
As a result, it's expected that the current standard definition versions of Channel 5 will be merged into one stream on satellite shortly. This may have implications for Irish viewers, who have manually tuned in Channel 5 in the Sky Other Channels menu in order to gain access to the service, which isn't carried on the Irish version of the Sky EPG.
The spare capacity created by the removal of regional variations could be utilised by Viacom; services could be reshuffled to make best use of space. Alternatively, Channel 5 HD could be transferred from Sky capacity to the channel's own capacity on the Astra satellite.