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News and Events

Showing Live Television in Church

Every year, churches throughout the UK host live television screenings. Be it a major sporting event, such as a World Cup or the Olympics, a Royal wedding, the Remembrance Sunday service, or New Year’s Eve, bringing together your community for the moments that unite us all in celebration or reflection presents a unique opportunity for church ministry.

Hosting a big event screening needn’t be complicated, or expensive. However, churches should ensure they have the correct licensing in place before the screening. The following article will help you understand your responsibilities and get covered.

In most cases, to show any ‘live’ television programme, the venue needs:

  • A TV licence*
  • A PRS for Music licence
  • A PPL Church Licence (which is congregational rather than venue specific)
  • If the event is not on terrestrial TV, the appropriate licence or subscription from the satellite or cable provider
  • Additionally, some events may require you to obtain a public viewing licence directly, though depending on the nature of the event, they won’t always make a charge

Many churches already have the PRS for Music and PPL Church Licences from CCLI. If yours doesn’t, please contact CCLI for more information. If hosting your screening in a third party venue, always check what cover the venue already has in place before obtaining additional licences.

Sporting Events

Major sporting events and tournaments are often broadcast on terrestrial television. This means that for many churches, there will be little or no cost to showing them.

However, for some events and tournaments, you may be required to obtain a Public Viewing Licence from the sport’s governing body, often depending on the size or commercial nature of your screening. These licences do not always have a cost, but do bind you to certain terms and conditions. For major events such as the Olympics or football World Cup, check the competition website for public viewing event information or look out for specific guidance from CCLI.

Churches that meet in Community Centres, Schools or Cinemas

Many community centres have their own TV, PRS for Music and PPL licences which may cover a screening hosted on the premises. Always check with the venue and contact CCLI if you need to confirm whether additional licensing is required.

Some broadcast events, such as sporting tournaments, may treat public screenings held in venues such as cinemas or theatres differently. If in doubt, contact the event organiser to confirm.

PPL Church Event Licence

A 14-day event version of the PPL Church Licence is available from CCLI if you only require this licence for a one-off event or mission week.

Streaming live events over an internet connection

Always check the terms and conditions of any streaming service (such as On Demand services or YouTube Live) that you wish to use before streaming an event live in a public setting. Often such services do not permit public screenings without additional permission being obtained.

Further information

More information can be found in CCLI’s TV Broadcasts, Satellite and Cable Fact File. Or, if in doubt, please contact CCLI for clarification before arranging your screening.

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