Statement published 4 July 2019
The listed events rules are intended to ensure that certain events of national interest are available to view live, and for free, by the widest possible audience.
The list of events is set by the Secretary of State and currently includes major sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup Final and Wimbledon Tennis.
Ofcom’s role is to maintain a list of television channels that appear to it to meet certain qualifying criteria – that they are free-to-view and received by 95% of the UK population. Those television channels which meet these two criteria are known as ‘qualifying services’.
In light of developments in how people now watch TV, in particular the increase in online viewing and the use of devices other than television sets, we considered it necessary to update the list of qualifying services.
We are today publishing our methodology to determine the revised list of qualifying services, and having applied it, our updated list of channels that are free-to-view and received by 95% of the UK population.
Under the listed events regime set out in the Broadcasting Act 1996 (the Act), Ofcom is required to publish, from time to time, a list of services which appear to it to be qualifying services. Qualifying services are those that meet two qualifying conditions under section 98(2) of the Act: “(a) that the service is provided without any consideration being required for reception of the service, and (b) that the service is received by at least 95 per cent. of the population of the United Kingdom”.
On 4 July 2019, we published a statement setting out our methodology for determining which services appear to us to meet the qualifying conditions, assessing this over a range of platforms including IPTV. In relation to IPTV specifically we said that we would expect a broadcaster to ensure it makes its service available on its website and via its own apps on a range of popular platforms and devices. We also published the list of services that appeared to us to qualify at that time. This did not include Channel 5, on the basis that we did not consider that its IPTV service was sufficiently broadly available.
On 22 August 2019, we received an application from Viacom International Media Networks (Viacom) requesting that Channel 5 be added to the list of qualifying services. Viacom provided information about changes to the availability of its service through IPTV streams. On the basis of the information provided, we consider that Channel 5 now appears to meet the qualifying conditions. On that basis, we have decided to add Channel 5 to the list of qualifying services.
As of 4 October 2019, the list of qualifying services consists of:
 Listed events – Identifying services that are free-to-view and widely available - https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-1/listed-events