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Teletext Ltd

Based in London
Broadcast area National
First airdate 1 January 1993
Replaced Oracle
Owned by DMGT

Teletext Ltd was the provider of teletext and digital interactive services for ITV, Channel 4 and Five in the United Kingdom.


Teletext Ltd started providing teletext services for ITV and Channel 4 on 1 January 1993, replacing the previous Oracle service which had lost the franchise.


The company is now owned by Daily Mail and General Trust's Associated Northcliffe Digital. Its main source of income is from revenue companies, mainly in the UK travel sector, who pay in order to advertise on its services on ITV, Channel 4, Sky and digital television as well as the website From the 1st of December 2013 will move from a price comparison site to a single advertiser. See


On 21 January 2009, Ofcom reported that "The increasing availability of text based services, both broadcast and online may mean that post 2014 there is no longer clear justification for continued intervention to maintain a public service teletext licence."[1][2]

On 16 July 2009, DMGT announced that due to competition from the Internet, current economic conditions and Ofcom's findings, the service would cease broadcasting most of its services on analogue and digital television, with the exception of the commercial services broadcast on Freeview channels 101-107 such as Teletext Holidays and the firm's profitable travel websites in January 2010,[3][4] with the switch off date subsequently brought forward to 14 December 2009 (Sky Digital) and 15 December 2009 (analogue TV, Freesat and Freeview).[5][6]

Teletext's news and information service were removed from:

Despite the withdrawal of news and information content, the service continued to broadcast. On 29 January 2010, the broadcasting regulator Ofcom revoked Teletext's licence to broadcast[7] but as of 19 June the service was still on the air. On 27 May 2010, Ofcom imposed a financial penalty of £225,000 on Teletext Limited following the revocation of the public teletext service licence.[8] Public service broadcasting licences are offered for a fixed term, requiring the holder to provide the licensed service throughout the licence period. In accepting a licence, the broadcaster takes account of the likely cost of the obligations under the licence, and the value of the benefits associated with the licence, for the duration of the licence period. Teletext’s licence was for the licence period 2004 to 2014.

The main Teletext service on Freeview was removed from channel 100 on the EPG on 21 June 2010. Some content, which was available here, is still available by pressing the text button on ITV and other channels which used the Teletext Service. A very limited analogue service continues to run on ITV and Channel 4. Teletext Holidays has confirmed that it plans to go digital only from January 2011.[9] In a deal between BBC Worldwide and Inview Technology Ltd, Teletext Extra was relaunched as Radio Times Extra on 31 January 2011, with editorial content from the Radio Times instead of Teletext Ltd.[10]

Other teletext services

Main article: Teletext

In spite of its name, the "Teletext"-branded service was neither the first nor the only teletext service in the UK. The BBC (one of the original developers of teletext) launched its Ceefax teletext service in 1974, the same year that Teletext's predecessor, ORACLE also appeared. Although ORACLE closed at the end of 1992 (when Teletext Ltd outbid it for the franchise), Ceefax continued to run on BBC analogue channels until the cessation of analogue signals in October 2012.

FourText, originally called 4-Tel, was first run in conjunction with ORACLE, as an auxiliary teletext provider for Channel 4 from 1982. 4-Tel occupied pages 410-499 within ORACLE's page space. When ORACLE lost its licence and was replaced by Teletext Ltd in 1993, 4-Tel moved to its own page space on pages 300-399. Channel 4 enlisted Intelfax to run the service. In 2002, 4-Tel was renamed FourText. In addition, FourText also launched on digital television. In 2003, Channel 4 ended their contract with Intelfax and contracted out the service to Teletext Ltd.[11] The new service was named Teletext on 4 and operated on pages 400-499 (which replaced pages 300-399 as Channel 4's page space).

See also


External links

  • Teletext
  • Teletext Holidays
  • Teletext Cars
  • A history of Teletext pages from The Guardian
  • mb21's Teletext Then and Now
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