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Viacom18 obtains licence for third Freeview channel

Viacom 18 has obtained its third Freeview licence ahead paving the way for it to launch a further channel on the UK's digital terrestrial TV platform.

The broadcaster operates a number of Hindi language services in the UK and Ireland, including entertainment channel Colors TV, which has now got a licence to broadcast terrestrially in the UK on a free-to-air basis. The licence, issued by Ofcom, is for the HD version of the channel, which first launched in the UK on Sky last month. Colors SD has been available on Sky and Freesat for several years.

Viacom 18 already broadcasts sister channels Rishtey and Rishtey Cineplex on Freeview channels 77 and 88, but in standard definition, although coverage is restricted to around 3/4 of UK households. Despite broadcasting in standard definition, a Freeview HD compatible receiver is required to watch the channels, due to the channels piggybacking on capacity used for the distribution of HD channels on Freeview. YouView, EE TV and Now TV Smart Box users in the Freeview coverage area also have access to these channels.

Launch timescales have not been disclosed.

Viacom18 is a joint venture between the US media giant that owns Channel 5 and India's Network 18 group. It is operationally separate to other Viacom UK channels.