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Pay TV platforms lose News Multiscreen today

The BBC's News Multiscreen service, still available to viewers watching on Sky and Virgin Media is to be switched off today, 20th June 2012.

The BBC confirmed the move at short notice late last week in a blog, although the closedown was anticipated. The cut is part of the BBC's Delivering Quality First cost cutting programme. The service was never made available to Freesat viewers and was switched off Freeview in October 2009 as part of a major reorganisation of capacity to accommodate HD channels.

News Multiscreen consisted of up six mini screens with various content from news, sport, business, weather and features. On Freeview, the service launched with two screens, and later four screens. 

As a two screen service on Freeview, it shared a frame with BBC Parliament. An MHEG text overlay either covered up the right of the screen (revealing the multiscreens but hiding BBC Parliament) or the left of the screen (revealing BBC Parliament, but hiding the multiscreens). The different services were accessed via different channel numbers, however. Improved compression technology coupled with new encoders allowed BBC Parliament to go full screen on its own stream, thus giving BBC News Multiscreen an extra two screens on Freeview.

The service was at one point always refered to at the end of the half past news summary on BBC News Channel/News 24. For the past few years, this has been replaced by a regular plug for the BBC News online streaming service.

Among the features on the Multiscreen was STORYFix - a mad couple of minutes of the week's news with an alternative slant, which featured the likes of Emily Matliss and Matt Barbet. 

STORYFix aired for just over a year until the summer of 2007. Newsbeat's Oddbox started thereafter.

Another regular and popular feature has been the late night Paper Review, recorded off the BBC News Channel and shown in a loop into the morning.

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  1. News Multiscreen stream on satellite now showing BBC News channel on all six screens.


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