ITV plc has replaced UTV’s +1 channel on Sky and Freesat with the service covering north west England. There are now no Channel 3 timeshift services via satellite in the nations.
The first major distribution to UTV following its takeover by ITV has completed. Its timeshift channel UTV+1 was removed on Tuesday morning.
Instead, viewers will now see the +1 version of ITV Granada. Although all network programmes are the same, viewers in Northern Ireland will see the news for Manchester, Liverpool and surrounding areas on the the +1 service at 7pm. It will also not be possible to catch-up on UTV’s other local programmes via satellite.
To continue receiving UTV+1, viewers will need to switch to Freeview or Virgin Media. The main UTV channel continues to be available in HD on channel 103 on Sky and Freesat.
It’s part of a wider change at ITV enabling it to broadcast all regional versions in HD on satellite. To clear capacity, a number of ITV regional services in standard definition were withdrawn on 13th April.
No Channel 3+1 for the nations via satellite
It now means that that there are no +1 services for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on satellite. ITV+1 now consists of four English regions: Central West, Granada, London and Meridian East. In October 2020, Welsh Sky and Freesat viewers were switched to Central West. North of the border, STV doesn’t offer a +1 service on satellite. In the Scottish borders, ITV provides Granada+1 to Sky and Freesat boxes.
This is despite that fact that the Channel 3 services for the nations typically carry a greater number of regional programmes. They also carry a greater number of regionalised advertising, reflecting differences in services and products available in the different nations of the UK.
UTV lost its regional continuity last year, four years after ITV completed its takeover of the Northern Irish broadcaster. While ITV is legally obligated to maintain a dedicated service for Northern Ireland and provide a set number of hours of local programming each year, there are no obligations over the availability of any ancillary service.