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Viewer ire over TV5 MONDE removal

Viewers of French channel TV5 MONDE in the UK and Ireland have reacted with indignation over the sudden switch online.

Social media feeds have been filled with viewer complaints about the removal of the service, which started with the termination of the Sky service and is to be followed by its removal from Virgin Media in favour of an online stream.

A screenshot of Twitter showing viewer's complaints about the loss of TV5 MONDE on Sky.
TV5 MONDE's decision hasn't gone down well with social media users (Twitter/ TV5 MONDE)

At the moment, the replacement is merely a live stream within a website; there's no mobile or smart TV app, but TV5 MONDE is looking at "other options for 2019".

TV5 MONDE broadcasts news, current affairs, factual and entertainment programming from French-language broadcasters, including France 2, RTBF from Belgium and Switzerland's RTS.

In its responses to enquiries, TV5 MONDE says it's been listening to viewers - an earlier tweet, now removed, said it wasn't able to give viewers notice of the change. Viewers said their recordings of TV5 MONDE programmes on Sky had been removed without notice.

But viewers have cast doubt on the broadcaster's claims it had been listening to viewers, instead noting that TV5 MONDE potentially wouldn't be able to broadcast via the Sky EPG after March due to Brexit. Currently a TV station licensed in one part of Europe can be made available elsewhere in the EU or EEA. Potentially, TV5 MONDE would need to broadcast two licensed services - a UK version licensed by Ofcom and a version for the Republic of Ireland using its existing EU licence. Current Government proposals could allow stations to continue broadcasting as they are now until at least 31st December 2020; a no-deal exit would force change by the end of March 2019.

Incidentally, UK broadcasters are also affected, as their Ofcom licence will no longer cover broadcasts to the Republic of Ireland or to other parts of continental Europe. In the past week, it's been confirmed that Turner Broadcasting (TCM) is having its services licensed in Germany, while other broadcasters are looking at moving to the Netherlands or Ireland. The most sensitive change will most likely be the BBC's choice of another jurisdiction, in order to keep broadcasting BBC World News and other international services across various networks in EU and EEA countries.

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