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Vintage TV leaves Freesat over carriage cost

Music channel Vintage TV has urged viewers to complain to Ofcom following its departure from Freesat.

The channel was removed from the free-to-air satellite service on Thursday, with Vintage TV blaming Freesat's new charging structure and urging viewers to contact the UK's broadcast regulator to complain. But Freesat says the fees have been lowered.

In a statement it said: "Freesat's new charging policy fails to address the commercial constraints on small, independent channels like ours. To continue providing Vintage TV on Freesat would result in us having less money to invest in making British programmes, so there would be fewer opportunities for music talent to be seen and heard on TV."

It added "If you are unhappy with Vintage TV coming off Freesat, please direct your complaints to Ofcom", although Ofcom has so far been reluctant to deal with what it sees as commercial relationships between broadcasters and platform operators.

Vintage TV is the second channel to publicly criticise changes at Freesat for coming off the platform. Earlier this year, Channel 4 dropped its HD channel from the service in protest over costs.

But since this article was first published, Freesat has claimed its new charges resulted in a "significant reduction" in Vintage TV's fees.

So who is telling the truth...? The details of the carriage terms remain confidential between the two parties, so it seems the viewers have been left in limbo with no-one wanting to take ownership and no clear answer to the issue. Freesat is telling viewers to contact Vintage TV and not itself about the issue.

So far this year, Freesat has seen a steady trickle of channels leaving its service including 4Music, and Kiss TV, leaving particularly the music and shopping genres looking threadbare on its EPG. New channels that have joined include Sony Crime Channel (which replaced True Crime) and African channel YANGA.

Vintage TV continues to be broadcast on Freeview channel 82 (in some areas only, requires new Freeview HD or Freeview Play equipment - see the Freeview channel coverage checker). It's also carried free-to-air on Sky channel  367. On cable, Virgin Media UK carries the service on 343. BT and TalkTalk TV viewers can see the channel 82, providing they live in the channel's Freeview coverage area.

Updated 07:12 18/05/2018.