Media release: Ofcom review of proposed BBC Scotland television channel


Update 20 April 2018: Publication of consultation and provisional decision

OFCOM has today published a consultation about our provisional decision (PDF, 712.0 KB) to approve the launch of a new BBC television channel for audiences in Scotland.

The BBC published detailed proposals for a BBC Scotland channel in November 2017. We announced in January that we would undertake a competition assessment to examine whether the  public value offered by a new BBC channel would justify any potential adverse effects on fair and effective competition.

Following a careful review of the BBC’s plans and research with viewers in Scotland, our provisional decision is that the BBC may proceed with the launch of the new channel.

We are now seeking views from interested or affected organisations and individuals on our provisional decision. The closing date for submissions is 18 May 2018.

We intend to publish our final decision on whether the BBC may proceed with the launch of the channel by July 2018.

Responding to this consultation

Please submit responses using the consultation responses form (RTF, 1.4 MB).

Update 15 March 2018: BBC announces HD change

The BBC has written to Ofcom (PDF, 210.2 KB) amending its proposal for a new TV channel for Scotland to include the launch of a High Definition (HD) simulcast. As the BBC has now revised its proposal, we will need to consider the implications of the change (PDF, 137.5 KB) for our ongoing Competition Assessment.

Update 11 January 2018: Letter concluding initial assessment

Ofcom has today published the findings of our initial assessment (PDF, 180.6 KB) of the BBC’s proposals to launch a new television channel for Scotland.

We have found that the BBC’s proposals amount to a material change of the BBC’s public services, which warrants a further competition assessment.

This assessment will consider whether the public value offered by a new BBC channel would justify any potential adverse effects on fair and effective competition. It will include research with viewers in Scotland, as well as economic analysis.

We expect to publish and consult on our emerging conclusions before the end of April. We will complete the review, and publish our decision on whether the BBC may proceed with the launch of the channel, by July.

30 November 2017

The BBC has published its proposal to launch a new television channel for Scotland. Ofcom is examining the proposal to identify any possible adverse effects on competition and decide whether they are justified in light of the potential public value which the proposed new channel may deliver.

From time to time, the BBC looks to make changes to its television channels, radio stations and online services to ensure it continues to fulfil its mission and meets the needs of audiences across the UK.

Some changes can be considered minor, for example day-to-day editorial decisions about individual programmes or their scheduling. However, as a large publicly funded organisation, other changes the BBC might wish to make could have a significant impact on competition in the wider media market.

Some of that impact may be positive. The BBC may enhance public value and encourage competition by offering more choice, stimulating demand or promoting innovation to the benefit of UK citizens and consumers.

However, there is also the potential that some changes the BBC proposes may harm competition, for example by crowding out investment from third parties, with ultimately negative consequences for audiences.

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Contact: Alan Stewart