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Channel 5 ‘may pass on investing in Freeview’ due to Covid-driven ad crisis

According to reports, Channel 5 can not justify the cost of joining the Freeview Play consortium during the coronavirus crisis

Channel 5 is reportedly considering declining the opportunity to invest in Freeview due to the drop in advertising revenue brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a report in The Sunday Telegraph, Channel 5’s parent company is considering turning down the opportunity to become an investor in Freeview because it cannot justify the cost during the crisis. It says talks are on-going and no final decision has been made.

Freeview is a joint venture managed by Digital UK and counts the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and Arqiva among its backers. It is in talks for a new round of funding to develop its Freeview Play streaming service, which industry figures suggest would help British broadcasters retain their prominence on the EPG as the streaming services become more influential.

A Channel 5 spokesperson told the newspaper, it had been a consistent part of Freeview Play since it launched and remained a big supporter of the platform.

He added: “While we have not joined Digital UK as full members, we are active participants alongside our PSB peers and we will continue to do all that we can to support Digital UK going forward.”

Freeview declined to comment on the report.