TVCatchup Goes Down and is Probably Gone For Good

TVCatchup Goes Down and is Probably Gone For Good

Back in 2007, a new online service appeared in the UK. Originally touted as a personal DVR service, TVCatchup quickly gained traction.

Later, however, TVCatchup became an almost live (there was a short delay) streaming service, offering many channels to the public, including those offered by the BBC, ITV, and other broadcasters.

But trouble was never far away for the popular service. Following a legal battle with broadcasters that stretched back more than seven years and traversed UK and EU Courts, in 2017 the European Court of Justice delivered a considerable blow.

The ECJ said that the platform, which claimed to operate legally when it streamed TV content broadcasted by ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, could not rely on legislation that was designed to assist in the development of cable infrastructure decades ago.

That meant that when TVCatchup streamed copyrighted content without permission, that amounted to an unlicensed communication to the public. However, a year earlier TVCatchup Limited had already been dissolved, as confirmed by an October 2016 filing at Companies House.

Many expected the service to immediately shut down but TVCatchup continued via its website and apps downloadable from Google Play and Apple’s App Store. That changed recently when the service appeared to drastically degrade with no announcement from those in charge.

@TVCatchup Hey guys, what’s up with the app at the moment, all I’m getting is stream unavailable at the moment, please try later.?

— Jason S Wood (@js_wood) April 23, 2019


The TVCatchup website currently displays a “Whoops, looks like something went wrong” message but it can still be accessed by adding “8080” to its URL. However, anyone clicking any of the links will be disappointed, as no channels are forthcoming. The same goes for both Apple and Android apps.

@TVCatchup hello, your app is not working on my iPhone/iPad. ‘Stream unavailable please try again later’ google tells me this is a wider problem, not just me? Any ideas when it will be fixed?

— Bettsywoo (@bettsywoo) April 22, 2019

Another concerned user

The Android app (here) is published by a company listed as Spaceshifting LLC. However, that entity was dissolved back in February 2018. The App Store variant (here) is published by Toyon Investments Ltd, a UK company formed in January 2017.

In December 2018, Toyon Investments was advised that “unless cause is shown to the contrary”, under the Companies Act 2006 it would be struck off the register of companies. On February 26, 2019, Toyon Investments was dissolved.

The last time TVCatchup corresponded with a customer on ___ was on March 5, 2019. Since then it has posted one tweet, unrelated to the business.

According to traffic stats provided by SimilarWeb, until the end of March 2019 was receiving around two million hits a day. Given the current situation, that isn’t likely to persist for long. However, UK users won’t be left completely high and dry.

Between BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, TVPlayer and other legal streaming apps and services, TVCatchup can be replaced. That wasn’t the case when TVCatchup initially gained traction but times have certainly changed over the past decade.

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Written by David Minister

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