MX23RW : Thursday, October 29 13:11:42| >> :600:2447100:2447100:

BBC backtracks on red button text closure

BBC backtracks on red button text closure
© BBC
The BBC announces that it has secured budget to keep most of its red button text and data services on air following protests at their proposed closures.

The BBC has confirmed that plans to axe its red button text and data services have been shelved.

Last year the corporation announced that it would be discontinuing the service - an evolution of the old Ceefax system offering viewers text reports in the areas of news, sports and weather - in early 2020.

The move sparked outrage from certain groups, including the deaf community and the elderly, and following an online petition the BBC suspended the closure pending a review.

Now Dan Taylor-Watt, product director for iPlayer and Sounds, has revealed that the budget has been found to keep the service alive, albeit with some restrictions.

"I'm pleased to let you know that we have found a way to keep the most valued text and data elements of the red button service," he wrote in a BBC blog.

"This means you will continue to be able to access local, national and international news headlines and stories, main sport headlines and stories, sport fixtures and results, as well as weather forecasts.

"To enable the continuation of the most valued text and data elements of the service, we are having to find ways to reduce cost and complexity elsewhere. This will mean we will be no longer be providing Lottery results (from November 2020) or English regional sport pages and individual sports' headlines, besides football and those on the main sport pages (from mid-2021) via the red button.

"National sport indexes (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) will be retained - as will all sport fixtures and results. Due to cost implications, we will not be updating the news and sport element of the service throughout the night – however, this will be refreshed each morning and then throughout the day to ensure you are up-to-date."

The changes have no bearing on the additional video streams for events such as Glastonbury and Wimbledon, which will continued to be offered via Red Button and iPlayer.

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