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ISP TalkTalk UK Joins BT TV in Removing the Universal Channel UPDATE

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020 (10:50 am) - Score 14,435

Customers of broadband ISP TalkTalk, specifically those who take their YouView (IPTV) powered TV service alongside the premium ‘Entertainment Boost‘ add-on, may be displeased to learn that they too will now be removing the Universal Channel from display (BT confirmed the same last month).

At the time of writing we note that the popular Universal Channel is still being listed alongside 32 other channels as part of the provider’s £6 per month (normally £12) ‘Entertainment Boost‘ add-on (other big name channels in this selection include Syfy, Fox, MTV, Comedy Central, National Geographic, History and Sky One etc.). The boosts only attach a monthly contract and so the ISP doesn’t need to give lots of advanced notice.

Nevertheless we have been informed by the provider that the Universal Channel is due to be removed and we’re currently attempt to confirm precisely when this will occur (assumed to be within the next month), although it’ll probably be removed from display (advertisements) for new customers within the next few days or weeks.

We suspect that the reason for this is the same as with BT TV and ultimately stems from Comcast’s earlier takeover of Sky (Sky Broadband), which among other things included the merger of some Sky and NBCUniversal International operations.

As a result of the above Sky has largely taken operational control of NBCU’s UK channels (e.g. Universal TV, Syfy UK etc.) and thus you can find many related TV shows on Sky’s own channels, such as Sky Witness, although this in turn means that Universal has been gradually ceasing on other platforms.

In fairness the complexity of modern TV content licensing means that some related TV shows, such as Mr Robot, can still be found on other platforms like Amazon Prime Video. In other words, you don’t always need to be taking the Universal Channel in order to access some of its top shows.

At present it’s not known if TalkTalk will be adding any new channels to their boost in order to compensate customers for the loss. We hope to report back with an update from the ISP shortly.

UPDATE 23rd Jan 2020

We understand that the channel will be removed from TalkTalk TV on 27th January 2020 and then any related recordings that have been made by customers will work until 23rd February (more or less identical to BT’s situation). As we’ve said before, the closure of the Universal Channel is happening across all TV platforms.

However as it stands TalkTalk has not added any new channels or decided to reduce the price of their boost in order to compensate for the lost content.

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar Mark

    I’m not sure why they chose to close Universal & move the programming to other Sky channels, IMHO the Universal brand is nicer!

    /shrug

  2. Avatar Bo

    It’s because Universal TV is closing at 6am on the 27th. Indeed, they are directing people to Sky Witness.

    It is closing to make way for Sky Comedy which launches midday on the 27th. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll launch on all platforms Universal was on, but where it does it should appear where Universal was.

    Given TalkTalk has other Sky entertainment channels, it’s likely Sky Comedy will launch there. As for BT on the other hand, it could well be a departure with no replacement.

  3. Avatar Samuel

    Tbh most of the good tv shows on cable/sattelite tv are on Sky/Virgin only channels nowadays so you’re better off just scraping TV packages and paying for the shows you want on SVOD platforms such as Amazon Video, Apple Video or Netflix. It’s what I do and works well for the shows I actually want to watch.

  4. Avatar Steve

    The TalkTalk web site are still showing Real Lives that morphed into Sky Crime and MTV Dance that changed into Club MTV a while back, so I don’t see them rushing to update it sadly – wondering if they are giving up on the TV?

    • Avatar Olly

      TV is a massive earner for TalkTalk, so it’s definitely not disappearing in a hurry. It’s probably outdated due to TalkTalk’s layoff of half the web team.

  5. Avatar Mike

    Don’t have these sort of issues with torrent providers 😉

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