BBC will disable Red Button information service in 2020

The BBC is to switch off its Red Button teletext service from the start of next year, the broadcaster has confirmed.

Ceefax, the BBC’s analogue teletext service, finished in October 2012 with the switchover to digital. It was replaced by BBC Red Button, which allowed viewers to read news and sports content on their TVs.

A spokesperson said the service would be stopped in early 2020 as the broadcaster needed to channel resources into “even better internet-based services”.

The closure of the service marks the end of the BBC’s teletext, 45 years after it began as Ceefax – a phonetic take on “see facts” – in 1974.

Credited as being the world’s first teletext service, Ceefax transmitted via unused bits of the broadcast spectrum and provided up-to-date news, sport and weather, along with reviews, quizzes, a children’s section and the latest TV and radio listings.

A BBC spokesperson said: “From early 2020, viewers will no longer be able to access text-based BBC News and BBC Sport content by pressing red.

“It’s always a difficult decision to reduce services, and we don’t take decisions like this lightly, but we have taken it because we have to balance the resources needed to maintain and develop this service with the need to update our systems to give people even better internet-based services.

“Viewers can still access this information on the BBC website, BBC News and Sport mobile apps – as well as 24-hour news on the BBC News channel.”