According to this article, W is likely to become available via Freeview in the spring, which means it should become available on BT TV.
If I recall correctly, this was one of the channels that used to be available in legacy TV packages so may be a welcome return for some. I suspect this will be in standard definition only.
UKTV’s pay-TV entertainment channel W is set to relaunch as a free-to-air brand, Broadcast understands.
The female-skewing channel, known for series including Firecracker’s Emma Willis: Delivering Babies and Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over is expected to make the move in the spring.
W has been looking to broaden its audience via commissions featuring high-profile female-skewed talent.
It has recently aired shows featuring Mylene Klass and AJ Odudu, with Little Wonder’s Alex Jones: Making Babies and Outline Productions’ Rochelle Humes: Interior Designer in the Making thought to be among the titles that will play soon after the channel moves free-to-air.
Solved! Go to Solution.
More info/background to this potential move in this article on RX:TV (no sign up required unlike Broadcast).
The female skewing lifestyle channel and the home of Emma Willis: Delivering Babies, Inside the Ambulance and Tipping Point repeats is set to become a Freeview channel soon.
Industry journal Broadcast understands UKTV is planning to make the free-to-view switch this spring.
The move is not a surprise, as UKTV has been stocking up on Freeview capacity in recent years.
In October 2020, UKTV purchased the owners of the CCXTV channel and with it a 24 hour broadcast slot and high ranking Freeview channel number. Early in 2021, UKTV closed CCXTV and parked Drama+1 on Freeview. It also moved timeshift channel Dave Ja Vu to channel 23 (recently moved to channel 25 to make way for BBC Three).
With a switch to free-to-view, W will fully fill the gap left behind when its previous female-skewing channel Really was sold three years ago. Really was one of three UKTV channels sold to Discovery in 2019, as part of a deal enabling BBC Studios, the BBC’s commercial arm, to take full control over the remaining UKTV services.
The move will leave Alibi, Eden and Gold as the last remaining UKTV pay TV channels.
I read that W would becoming FTA and going on Freeview last night on another forum.
I used to watch the channel at times.
Hopefully programming will remain the same when it goes FTA and it will keep some of its dramas.
Shame its only going to be in SD on Freeview but I guess thats better than nothing.
Quick update, W has received it's DTPS licence from Ofcom, essentially the licence needed to broadcast on Freeview. It already holds a licence for Cable, Satellite and online distribution.
Still no official confirmation of this move from UKTV that I know of, but it looks like it is getting closer to launch.
Now confirmed and launching on the 28th March: https://corporate.uktv.co.uk/news/article/uktv-takes-w-free-to-air/
Award-winning commercial broadcaster UKTV today announced that it is taking its premium entertainment channel W free-to-air and making it available on its direct-to-consumer video on demand service UKTV Play, in a move that will significantly increase the footprint of W and its programme offering.
Launching on Monday 28th March in Freeview slot 25, viewers will have access to a plethora of hit UKTV Originals for free, including brand new upcoming shows Alex Jones: Making Babies, Rochelle Humes: Interior Designer in the Making, Nurses on the Ward and Dating With My Mates, alongside new series of returning favourites Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over, MasterChef USA, Australia and Canada, and Inside the Ambulance.
Many viewers will also have the chance to see award-winning Emma Willis: Delivering Babies and Myleene Klass' acclaimed documentary Myleene Klass: Miscarriage and Me for the first time.
And a rebrand to boot...
Coinciding with the switch to free-to-air, W is rebranding and repositioning itself as the home of genuine human moments, leading with the tagline, "Life Unfiltered" to connect with its female skewing 25-44 target audience.
Designed by in-house agency, UKTV Creative, W's new creative look and feel embodies a down-to-earth and unfiltered feel and the suite of new creative assets celebrate W's inspiring programming and real-life moments in all their imperfect and unique glory.
Presumably the UKTV app will add catch up/on demand programming from W when it launches.
Seems that way, from the bottom of the press release linked to above:
From 28th March viewers can watch W on Freeview, Freesat and UKTV Play, and it remains available to Virgin Media and Sky subscribers.
As far as I am aware you can't watch live channels on the UKTV Play app, so they must mean on demand.
Agreed, I would have thought so as well.
Not a bad move if I'm honest. I also wonder if they will eventually move Alibi as well or add it to now?
Free extra content is better than nothing.