Blog Post

Teletext Will Shut TV Services In January, Concentrate On Web

Associated Newspapers is bringing forward the shutdown of analogue Teletext services from 2012 to January next year, and will even shut several of its Freeview digital text services, saying Ofcom’s refusal to give public funding beyond 2014 contributed to the decision.

It will be the end of an era began in 1974, when Teletext forerunner Oracle became the commercial teletext service on ITV (LSE: ITV). Teletext has been offering digital text services on ITV’s red button since the advent of Freeview and has tried to replicate its brand name on the web, but the company has been losing money – £3 million in the six months to March – and Associated has been trying to save money by outsourcing more jobs to Teletext’s content producer, the Press Association.

Teletextholidays.co.uk, Thisistravel.co.uk and Villarenters.co.uk will carry on under web wing Associated Northcliffe Digital – no word on what this means for Teletext.co.uk, which aspects of the Freeview service will close or how many jobs are affected. Here’s the full announcement…

Associated Newspapers, the national media division of DMGT, announces that,
following a comprehensive review, it has decided to bring forward the shut down
of Teletext’s loss-making analogue television services. Transmission will end
in January 2010, rather than 2012 as previously envisaged. In addition,
Teletext will halt a number of its digital television services from the same
date.

The holiday service on Freeview, channel 101 and other commercial services on
Freeview channels 102 – 107 will continue to broadcast. Teletext’s successful
and profitable travel websites, Teletextholidays.co.uk, Thisistravel.co.uk and
Villarenters.co.uk will continue to serve the needs of the leisure traveller.

As anticipated, the continued fragmentation of television audiences and the
growth in the use of the internet has resulted in a significant reduction in
the audience and volume of commercial activity generated by the television
services. In addition, Ofcom has indicated that it is not persuaded of the need
for public intervention in the delivery of a public commercial Teletext service
beyond 2014 and this has also contributed to the decision to discontinue the
public service. Current economic conditions have accelerated this process,
leading to today’s announcement.

Teletext’s network of individually profitable travel websites show excellent
growth potential. Management will now be able to devote its full focus on these
profitable assets, which will operate as a division of the AND suite of online
businesses covering recruitment, property, motors and dating.