Listed events and Channel 5
Ofcom has received a request from Channel 5 (Five) for it to be added to the same category of television programme services as BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV 1 and Channel 4 for the purposes of the listed events rules. These are the broadcasters which must be given a genuine opportunity to acquire the rights to broadcast listed events – live rights in the case of Group A events (e.g. Olympics, FIFA World Cup, European Football Championship, Wimbledon) or highlights in the case of Group B events (e.g. Cricket Test Matches, Six Nations Rugby, Commonwealth Games).
The qualifying conditions are set out in section 98 of the Broadcasting Act 1996 as amended by the Television Broadcasting Regulations 2000. They are:
- that the service is provided without any consideration being required for reception of the service; and
- that the service is received by at least 95% of the UK population.
BARB data for January 2008 shows that Five is now received by 96% of the UK population.
The 96% population figure includes those who receive Five on cable where Five is available only as part of a basic subscription package. Section 98 provides that a service is free if it is provided without any consideration being required for its reception, and sections 214(8), 219(5) and 231(9) of the Communications Act 2003 prohibit the holder of a public service broadcasting licence from imposing a charge, directly or indirectly, in respect of the reception of their service. In Ofcom’s view, therefore, Five is to be regarded a “free” service on cable, even though all cable users have to pay the network provider at least a basic subscription.
Ofcom has therefore concluded that Five meets both qualifying conditions.
Under section 98(5) of the Broadcasting Act 1996 Ofcom is required from time to time to publish a list of the television programme services and EEA satellite services which appear to Ofcom to satisfy the qualifying conditions. The revised list is attached to this note.
Note: Guidance on the rules relating to listed events is set out in the Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events (revised January 2002) which is available on Ofcom’s website http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/codes/code_sprt_lstd_evts/.
LIST OF SERVICES MEETING THE ‘QUALIFYING CONDITIONS’ AS SET OUT IN SECTION 98 OF THE BROADCASTING ACT 1996
CHANNEL 3 (ITV 1)
CHANNEL 5 (FIVE)