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Discovery to launch Freeview channel

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Discovery to launch Freeview channel

'Sunrise Earth' / Discovery

Discovery will launch its first free-to-air channel in the UK early next year after securing a coveted slot on digital terrestrial television.

The broadcaster has successfully acquired capacity on multiplex A, which is operated by ITV subsidiary SDN, for approximately £10m. The multiplex currently carries Five, some pay television services from Top Up TV, and shopping channels including QVC and Bid TV. Unconfirmed rumours suggest that Bid TV has relinquished its slot on the multiplex but it is not known whether Discovery has acquired that space or another.

Discovery had planned to enter the UK's digital terrestrial market in partnership with Sky; last December, the broadcaster agreed to provide a 6am-6pm service on Sky's proposed Picnic pay TV service. Last month, Sky suspended preparations to launch the service citing "no end in sight" in the regulatory process for approving it. Towards the end of September, Ofcom said it would consult on giving Picnic conditional approval but Sky has yet to reactivate the project.

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