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The vidiprinter is the name given to a sports scores and results ticker service provided to media organisations. It is familiar to football fans because the football version of the vidiprinter is seen on BBC One and Sky Sports News HQ on Saturday afternoons and on Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday nights when a significant number of games are being played.
Vidiprinter data supplier
Since its inception, the vidiprinter service was supplied by the Press Association, the UK's national and international news and sport agency. From the 2013-14 season, the contract was taken over by Opta Sports.
Current use by media organisations
The BBC and Sky Sports show a vidiprinter during their scores and results programmes with both having the vidiprinter on-screen from the start of the 3 pm kick-offs until Final Score begins its classified check at 5 pm although Sky Sports keeps the vidiprinter onscreen whilst the channel broadcasts its classifled check and whilst presenter Jeff Stelling goes through the updated league tables meaning that the vidiprinter is shown on Sky Sports News from 3pm until around 5:10 pm.
The vidiprinter is also seen when a lot of midweek games are being played. Since 1998 Sky Sports has broadcast a midweek version of Soccer Saturday – Soccer Special – and the vidiprinter is on screen from 7:45 pm until around 9:45 pm (later on English Cup nights). The BBC also occasionally shows a midweek edition of its scores service but since October 2012 Midweek Final Score has been shown far less frequently. Both channels produce editions of their scores programmes on Boxing Day, New Year's Day and Easter Monday as a full set of English games (plus Scottish games on Boxing Day) take place on those three bank holiday afternoons. However neither broadcaster produces a football scores service on Sundays even though all of the top Premier League clashes now happen on Sundays, as well as other Premier League, Championship, FA Cup and Scottish games and the entire women’s football programme. The only exception is the final day of the Premier League season due to the final set of fixtures being played on a Sunday.
BBC Scotland broadcasts its own Saturday afternoon results programme Sportscene Results and the vidiprinter is onscreen from the start of the programme until the start of the classified results at 5pm.
There are also various versions of the vidiprinter on the internet. These feature a different version of the vidiprinter seen on television. The Sporting Life and BBC website vidiprinters feature live league, but not Cup, scores and results from the top European leagues and the ESPN online vidiprinter features league and cup games from around the world. The Football Web Pages vidiprinter does not cover European and global domestic competitions but it does includes scores, results and scorers from steps 2, 3 and 4 of the non league pyramid. This is the only vidiprinter to include step 4 – the first divisions of the Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues - and following a change to the BBC's online vidiprinter in October 2013 when it began featuring European league matches at the expense of non league, Welsh and Irish games, the Football Webpages vidipriniter is the only one to include scores from games below the Conference Premier but it does not cover Scottish non league matches or feature any competitions from Wales and Ireland although the BBC did re-introduce coverage of the regional Conference leagues to their online vidiprinter at the start of the 2014–15 season.
The vidiprinter has been seen on BBC One as part of Final Score since the earliest days of Grandstand. Initially it was known as the teleprinter and featured a live shot of the actual printer with the presenter standing next to the printer reading out and interpreting the results as they came in. By the 1980s, a live shot of the printer had been replaced by an on-screen computerised version and was renamed the vidiprinter but the letter-by-letter typing format continued until the end of the 2000–01 season. The teleprinter/vidiprinter was on-screen for around eight minutes at full-time, from just after 4:40 pm until enough of the major results were in to provide the full classified check at around 4:50 pm. Late goal flashes were omitted from the feed to ensure that only results were shown once the results started to come in. In January 1999, the BBC started to display the vidiprinter at the bottom of the screen during the half-time scores sequence although generally only during the first part of this sequence – i.e. just when the Premier League reports were shown. From this time, the late goal flashes started to appear in the full-time vidiprinter section of Final Score, which was now generally onscreen for more than ten minutes, from around 4.45pm until 5pm because by now half time intervals at Premier League and Football League matches had been extended from 10 to 15 minutes.
At the start of the 2001-02 season Final Score became a programme in its own right and the on-screen format for the vidiprinter changed. The biggest change was the replacement of the typing format with a much faster ticker-tape style service and over the next two seasons, the vidiprinter was on screen for the entire half time round-up and also appeared well before the final whistles started to blow, appearing on the bottom of the screen for the final few minutes of the main Grandstand programme before Grandstand handed over to Final Score at between 4.30 and 4.40. In August 2003, the BBC started broadcasting the vidiprinter continually from 15 minutes before kick-off until the major full times were in. However, this service is only available on the Red Button until Final Score started on BBC One, which by 2003 had settled into its 4:30 pm start time. In the 2003–04 season, this was merely an on-screen service and Grandstand played in a quarter-screen. This service was available from 2:45 pm, although on occasions it started slightly earlier, until Final Score started at 4:30 pm when this feed took the main Final Score programme. Interestingly, during this first red button season the vidiprinter feed often fed through team news as it became available to the Press Association for the period prior to kick-off. The following season, BBC Sport decided to broadcast a full scores programme in its own right. Called Score, it ran between 2:30 pm and 6 pm with the 4:30 pm to 5:15 pm segment simulcast on BBC One. However, the vidiprinter did not appear until 3 pm and the team news feed was not shown. In around 2008, the entire programme was renamed Final Score.
In November 2007 a midweek version of Final Score was launched. This is a simulcast of BBC Radio 5 Live with the vidiprinter shown on-screen throughout the transmission and is called Midweek Final Score. This was the first time that the BBC had shown the vidiprinter on midweek evenings. Midweek Final Score is shown on the BBC interactive service between 7:30 pm and 10 pm. However, since October 2012 Midweek Final Score has been shown far less often due to the BBC deciding to broadcast just a single Red Button feed on all platforms as opposed to multiple feeds on the internet and cable and satellite.
On 26 October 2013 Final Score stopped showing the vidiprinter feed as provided by Opta Sports and decided to create its own edited version. This has been common practice on the internet for many years but this is the first time that BBC Television chose to do this. Among the changes seen by viewers are the removal of all of the non-league information apart from the Conference leagues as well as women's matches and all other minor, reserve and youth league and cup competitions, the codes used have been replaced with the BBC's own codes, all goal flashes are accompanied by the competition in which the game is taking place and injury time goal show the number of minutes of injury time played at the time the goal is scored. Also goal flashes from the Welsh Premier League are omitted. Also some club names are given differently from how they are displayed on the raw feed and scores and results sometimes appear in a slightly different order. Prior to this date Final Score had always shown the vidiprinter feed unedited since the teleprinter was first seen on air during the earliest days of Grandstand. Two weeks later BBC Scotland did the same and its changes included the removal of all English non-League scores and using its own codes, prefixing all English games with the letter 'E'.
For many years BBC Scotland has shown its own football results programme. Originally it opted out of Grandstand at around 4:40 pm when the Final Score segment of the programme began but when Final Score was separated from Grandstand in 2001, BBC Scotland launched its own separate programme called Sportscene Results. During the final few years of Grandstand BBC Wales also opted out of the final few minutes of Final Score to provide a round-up of the Welsh football and rugby results and also launched its own separate programme in 2001 called Wales on Saturday until it was dropped in 2008. Both programmes showed the vidiprinter from the start of the programme until 5 pm. BBC Northern Ireland produces its own results programme but this does not start broadcasting until 5 pm and the vidiprinter is not seen during the BBC Northern Ireland opt-out.
The vidiprinter seen on BBC TV now only features football. However, until 2003 the vidiprinter occasionally broadcast rugby results, usually around half a dozen times each season, possibly in error apart from maybe on the rare occasion when there was one missing rugby score from a major competition after the rugby results were read out on Final Score. The last time that any rugby information was seen on the BBC vidiprinter was in November 2003 although on 7 October 2006, Wales on Saturday did broadcast the version of the vidiprinter which included rugby scores and results. However, this was a one-off as the following week the vidiprinter seen on Wales on Saturday was the football-only version.
Sky Sports launched a sports magazine programme – Sports Saturday – in August 1992 and the vidiprinter was on-screen during the results section of the programme, which was called Scorelines. The vidiprinter appeared at around 4:30 pm, more than ten minutes before the vidiprinter appeared on Grandstand. In August 1998, Sports Saturday was morphed into Soccer Saturday and dropped the actual sports coverage in favour of a continuous service of scores, comments, reports and results. From this point the vidiprinter was on-screen from 3 pm until 4:55 pm although the vidiprinter disappeared between 3:50 and 4 pm for the duration of the classified half time round-up. In the 2004–05 season the decision was taken to keep the vidiprinter on-screen during the half time round-up and also during the full-time classified check and whilst presenter Jeff Stelling went through the updated league tables. This meant that the vidiprinter was now on-screen continuously from 3pm until the first commercial break after the end of the day’s games.
On 12 August 2014 Sky Sports launched Sky Sports News HQ and at this point decided to stop showing the raw feed as from this date competitions where only half time/full time scores were provided stopped being shown. Consequently information about all Welsh and Irish football, all non league football in both England and Scotland, apart from the Conference Premier, and all reserve and youth football is no longer seen by viewers. Also at this time, Sky Sports started using its own competition codes. Sky Sports was the last media organisation to stop providing viewers with the raw feed and did so after 22 years of showing a largely unedited version - the broadcaster had in recent years sometimes used its own competition codes, shortened the way team names were given and had never shown timings of sendings-off.
The vidiprinter seen on Sky Sports has always exclusively focussed on football although until 2009 the Sky Sports website did feature a separate vidiprinter on the rugby union and rugby league sections of the Score Centre section of their website. Live scores were featured for the Rugby Union Premiership, the Anglo-Welsh League, the Pro 12 League, the Heineken Cup and all international matches. Full-time scores for the RFU Championship, National Leagues 1 and 2 were featured along with results from the Welsh National League Premier Division and Divisions 1 East and 1 West, the top three national leagues in Scotland and the All-Ireland League. Now, only the football section of the vidiprinter service is available and, as with the Sportinglife.com vidiprinter, does not feature non-league scores apart from the Conference National whereas prior to 2009 the Sky Sports Football vidiprinter did include non-league scores as well as Welsh and Irish soccer.
ITV never broadcast a teleprinter/vidiprinter during the days of World of Sport or its replacement results programme Results Service. However, when ITV2 launched in December 1998, a football scores programme was broadcast, called Football First, which in August 2001 was renamed The Goal Rush to co-inside with ITV capturing the highlights package for the FA Premiership. The programme was simulcast on ITV from around 4.30pm. A live scores ticker featured as part of this service although it was never referred to as the vidiprinter. Also, the ticker only featured the top leagues in England and Scotland. Non-league football below the Football Conference and football in Wales and Northern Ireland did not feature on ITV’s scores programme.
The short-lived Setanta Sports News broadcast a vidiprinter on Saturday afternoons although some minor results, and for some reason, the Northern Ireland league results, were omitted. As opposed to the BBC and Sky Sports, the vidiprinter on Setanta Sports News would remain on-screen long after 5pm, sometimes until well into the evening for the duration of the teatime kick-offs.
From 2010 until 2014 S4C broadcast a game from the Welsh Premier League every Saturday afternoon and showed the vidiprinter, translated into Welsh. It was displayed on the bottom of the screen during the actual match as well as during the build-up and at half time. The vidiprinter was edited to include only the matches in Wales and the major games in England. Scottish games and English non league matches are removed from S4C's vidiprinter service.
ESPN UK did not broadcast a live scores programme when it had the rights to the Premier League and therefore did not broadcast an on-screen vidiprinter and so far BT Sport has not produced a live scores show and therefore does not broadcast a vidiprinter.
- BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/live-scores/videprinter
- Sporting Life: http://www.sportinglife.com/football/live/vidiprinter
- Football Web Pages: http://www.footballwebpages.co.uk/vidiprinter/all