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S4C taken off Irish Sky EPG

Welsh channel S4C has been taken away from Sky viewers in the Irish Republic. The channel gained popularity in Ireland thanks to its sports coverage.

The removal, which took place on Friday, affects both standard and high definition versions of the channel.

However, with S4C continuing free-to-air transmissions, viewers who want to watch S4C are advised to add the channel manually on Sky.

a516digital has a full guide explaining how to watch S4C and how to manually tune in the channel:
How to watch S4C outside of Wales

As well as the cost of broadcasting of being listed on non-UK platforms, sports rights restrictions, or the cost of acquiring additional clearance to broadcast such sporting events on non-UK TV services, are seen as the main drivers behind restricting cross-border coverage. Clearance to broadcast a channel on Irish services may not be possible, if there is a clash with Irish broadcasters holding the same sports rights.

How sports rights restrict coverage
  • Ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the BBC removed access to its Red Button service on Sky in the Republic of Ireland, limiting how viewers could access additional BBC sports coverage not just for the Olympics, but also for Wimbledon, the European Championships and Football World Cup.
  • Ireland's RTÉ had to black out Saorsat coverage of the Champions League in 2015 after BT took on the rights in the UK. Saorsat's coverage overlaps into Northern Ireland, but unlike Sky, there's no way to blank certain programmes.
  • Further afield, German broadcasters ARD and ZDF had to restrict satellite broadcasts on the Eutelsat Hot Bird satellite during 2016 due to sports rights clashes with Middle Eastern broadcasters caused by Hot Bird's overlapping signal. In the meantime, both ARD and ZDF have ended Hot Bird broadcasts.
  • Italy's main RAI channels are free-to-air on satellite, except when showing certain films and sports events, when they become encrypted, pacifying sports rights holders and restricting access to those with the appropriate free-to-view smartcard.