Jonathan Tweed

show me the channels atlas: how many are there?

Recently I’ve spent quite a lot of time getting more familiar than I ever could have imagined possible with the many tv and radio channels we’ve got in Atlas. After noticing a few trends, I thought it might be fun to make a few charts. Everyone loves charts, right?

the big number

We have 927 UK tv and radio channels in Atlas.

the terrestrial broadcasters

Looking at the terrestrial broadcasters, the BBC unexpectedly leads by a huge margin in number of channels. I think this view really drives home not just its sheer size as a broadcaster, but also its relative complexity. Noone else, not even ITV, has the same number of regional variations and local output.

the big data sources

In terms of where we source data though, you can see that even the BBC is small compared to the sheer number of channels now available in the UK.

We get 894 channels from Press Association. That’s why they’re our main data provider – very few companies have the kind of coverage needed to make a full EPG. It’s easy to forget that even though we so often think of broadcaster VOD data, it’s still a very small slice of the overall market.

did video kill the radio star?

We’re pretty much 50/50 when it comes to tv and radio, with tv winning just slightly. Even in this world of hundreds of small digital channels, radio is putting in one fantastic performance. Granted this includes the many multiple frequencies of local radio, but the number of local commercial stations is still huge.

back to the names

What really got me thinking about all of this was going through the entire list of channels one by one and making sure they had all the current, correct name. That’s when I started noticing some letters took longer than others.

Note the unusually large numbers that start with 1 (radio stations that begin with their FM frequency), b (that’ll be the BBC again) and s puts in an impressive appearance too (that one’s Sky).

channel hopping

So there we are, a quick tour of the UK media landscape via the channels in Atlas. Have we missed anything you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments and we’ll take a look.

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