ITVBe+1’s broadcast hours on Freeview were given a surprise boost over the weekend after CITV’s closure on Friday.
- ITVBe+1’s broadcast hours were extended on Saturday.
- Freeview seemed to be unaware of the change.
- But current arrangement means channel cuts off midway through primetime programmes.
ITVBe+1 became a surprise addition to Freeview this weekend, taking up CITV’s former capacity.
The timeshift of ITV’s female-skewing entertainment channel began broadcasting through the day from 5am until 9pm on Freeview channel 58.
The extended hours appeared to catch Freeview on the hop. Its Electronic Programme Guide continued to tell viewers to switch to channel 28, with a generic placeholder message appearing instead of programme details (pictured).
The CITV channel closed at 9pm on Friday after 17 years on air. Due to the way multiple channels are bundled together on Freeview, the ex-CITV bandwidth was dynamically reassigned to ITVBe+1. ITVBe+1 was previously only available for an hour overnight on – a so-called placeholder service on Freeview.
But the new arrangement means ITVBe+1 viewers are cut-off midway through primetime. On Sunday, this meant only the first hour of the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding was shown on ITVBe+1 on Freeview before hitting the 9pm cutoff (when the +1 was about to show the 8pm hour of the film). At 9pm, ITV3+1 takes over the bandwidth.
ITVBe+1 is currently only broadcast full time on Virgin Media’s cable TV platform. It is not available on Sky or Freesat. +1 channels have been purged from newer IPTV-based TV platforms.
CITV closure aftermath
Meanwhile, on other platforms CITV’s closure resulted in little immediate change. Sky, which is usually fast off the mark at removing channels, left the channel on its Electronic Programme Guide over the weekend. It will normally only delist channels on weekdays during daytime hours. This is in contrast to TCM’s closure in July, when Sky delisted the channel hours ahead of its closure, because the channel’s closedown was due to take place out of hours.
ITV recently moved CITV on Freesat to a different service ID to the one previously shared with Sky, ahead of its closure. This means Freesat is not dependent on when Sky removes the channel.
On some TV platforms, removal of the channel will result in recordings becoming unavailable. However, CITV content is available on ITVX.