RTP2 is the second television channel of Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, the Portuguese public broadcasting corporation. Commonly referred to as the "Second" (O Segundo), and for a time rebranded as "Dois" (Portuguese for two), this historically state-run television channel started its regular broadcasting on 25 December 1968. Nowadays, RTP2 is a public-service, advertising-free channel that serves as an alternative to RTP's main channel, RTP1.
Similar to BBC Two, RTP2 aims at less mainstream and more intellectual content. RTP2 is the only of several Portuguese and European national/international channels that have strict cultural and educational programming (comparable to Arte). RTP2 is the only broadcaster from Portugal that broadcasts programming without interruptions, ad breaks or inline messaging. Together with sister channel RTP1, it became a 24-hour service in 2002.
RTP2's lineup is devoted to worldwide recognized quality television content, institutional EU/national programming or advertising, television series, cinematography, documentary films, theatre, and classical music. As of 2007, its share of the national audience was 5%-7%.
RTP2 (going under the unofficial name of II Programa) began broadcasting on 25 December 1968 on the UHF band, broadcasting to large urban centers, relaying selected RTP1 shows over two hours every night. Regular broadcasts started on 21 November 1970. As the 1970s progressed, the channel slowly started to add (predominantly European) shows on the schedule that RTP1 did not air.
On 16 October 1978, RTP decided to separate RTP-1 and RTP/2, giving each channel their teams and news operations. Fernando Lopes became the controller of the newly-separate channel, being nicknamed as "Canal Lopes" (the Lopes channel).
Towards the start of the 80s, owing to cost-cutting measures, RTP 2 was now under RTP 1's control again.
In 1986, the channel was part of the Europa TV experiment, airing the channel's programming between 16:30 and 20:00. As soon as Europa TV closed, some Music Box shows were relayed on the channel. Agora Escolha premiered in the same year, a phone-in show which allowed the viewer to choose from two different TV shows. It got canceled in the mid-90s, apart from a brief (and web-centric) revival in 2011 on RTP Memória.
On 17 September 1990, RTP 2 was renamed Canal 2, then to TV2 on 14 September 1992. As TV2, the channel's slogan was A Outra TV.
In 1994, TV2 was forced to focus entirely on minorities, causing major changes to the channel's schedule. Football and telenovelas were transferred from TV2 to the more mainstream channel, Canal 1 and the channel's ratings started to vertiginously decrease.
On 29 April 1996, the channel's name reverted to RTP2, carrying the same scheduling format as TV2. The channel started to relay Euronews in Portuguese at certain times.
Commercial advertising was now prohibited towards the new millennium.
On 5 January 2004, the channel renamed once again, becoming 2: Pronounced a Dois (the two). As a result, the channel was now forced to focus on cultural interests and civil society.