Spotlight TV, a long-running channel dedicated to music and entertainment, is being removed from Freesat and Sky at the end of August, due to issues with how ratings are measured in the TV industry (according to the channel’s owners).
To prevent its total demise, a crowdfunding project was set up by the channel, hoping to raise enough money that will allow the channel to keep operating on Freeview’s internet-connected platform.
But for now, Spotlight TV – which is currently available on Freesat Channel 500 (formerly 516) and Sky Channel 361 – will cease broadcasting on those platforms on August 31, 2022.
The channel has been operating since 2016 with a focus on country music, and was originally known as Keep It Country TV.
Later, the channel’s focus broadened, with music from other genres as well as entertainment and magazine programmes – and its name was changed, in 2019, to Spotlight TV.
Some of the long-running programmes on the channel include American Country Music Mix, The Irish Music Hour, The Michael Commins Show and more.
The channel’s removal from Freesat marks more bad news for users of the service, in a year that has seen several big changes (on both Freesat and Freeview) – the removal of ITV Hub from all Humax Freesat boxes, the big CBS channels revamp, the shutdown of Forces TV and more.
Why Is Spotlight TV Shutting Down?
In a series of announcements posted online, Spotlight TV’s owner, Phil Mack, gave viewers a look behind the scenes of the TV industry, detailing the causes that have led – according to him – to the channel shutting down.
According to Mack, the problems lie with how TV ratings are measured in the UK, by the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB).
The system, which was set up years ago, uses a select panel of 5,100 homes to measure TV ratings. If no one in those 5,200 homes happens to watch a programme on Spotlight TV (or any other channel) – that programme gets a rating of 0 – as if no one had watched it.
This, by the way, can happen to big, established channels as well – in 2020, Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch daytime show registered zero viewers at one point.
According to Spotlight TV, in instances where – judging by their social media accounts and online responses – many viewers were watching a certain show, its rating could still be marked as zero.
And, with the cost of running Spotlight TV across Freesat, Sky and connected-Freeview being £82,000/month, the money coming in from advertisers – with ratings being as low as they were – was not enough to sustain the channel.
Therefore, “It is with great regret that after almost 7 years broadcasting across the UK, Ireland and beyond”, Mack wrote on his website, “that Spotlight TV will broadcast for the last time at the end of August.”
However, due to responses from fans, a crowdfunding page has been set up to support the channel.
If the project is successful, Spotlight TV hopes to come back to Freeview in some form (possibly on Channelbox, a Freeview platform that only works on devices connected to the internet).
As of this writing, the channel managed to raise 1% out of its £100,000 target.