UK broadcasters Plan FreeToAir TV future

  • techUK techUK
    Tuesday12Jun 2018
    News

    The UK’s major PSB broadcaster have signed a new five-year agreement to accelerate digital terrestrial TV service Freeview’s transition to a fully hybrid platform.

The collaboration between BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and network operator Arqiva – the four shareholders of Digital UK – will see an investment of £125 million (€110m) over the next five years to build on the success of Freeview Play, the UK market leader in free-to-view connected TV. Alongside the ongoing support for the Freeview platform, new developments will include a mobile app and improvements in content discoverability and navigation.

Since launch in 2015, more than three-and-a-half million Freeview Play products have been sold in the UK, accounting for 60 per cent of smart TV sales. The service gives UK viewers a seamless combination of live and on-demand content with no monthly subscription.

Digital UK will lead on implementing the new strategy, focusing on product development and working closely with sister organisation, Freeview, on a refreshed marketing approach and brand positioning. The new investment will help Freeview exploit the trend towards ‘cord cutting’ as viewers build their own ‘skinny bundles’ combining free-to-view TV with low-cost streaming services. Since 2016 Freeview has grown its base of main sets by over a million homes to 11.4 million cementing its position as the UK’s largest TV platform. Around 19 million homes watch Freeview on either the main or a secondary set.

Key areas of development will include:

  •          A new mobile app enabling viewers to access live and on-demand content on a range of smartphones and tablets, launching later in 2018
  •          Restart functionality allowing viewers switching on mid-way through a programme to watch from the start using catch-up links built into the Freeview Play TV guide
  •          Improved navigation through voice search, and further evolution of the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) on televisions

According to the partners, the agreement to invest in developing Freeview as a fully hybrid platform reflects the continuing strength of linear TV but also the growth of on-demand viewing. Ofcom recently highlighted challenges created by new players such as Netflix and Amazon, calling for more industry collaboration to maintain the prominence of PSB content on connected TV interfaces.

“As the UK’s TV landscape becomes increasingly impacted by global players, this new commitment from our shareholders is a major boost for UK viewers,” stated Jonathan Thompson, CEO of Digital UK, said. “Building on this spirit of collaboration, we will not only safeguard free-to-view TV but reinvent it for a new age of viewing.”

FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

Last 6 days to go until the chance to pitch your mobility solutions to 5 of the world’s biggest automotive brands c… https://t.co/Cj4CByAIkF
We support @thewisecampaign and their People Like Me programme which has launched its online platform today! A grea… https://t.co/W86VkBrmKT
This week we will be celebrating our work as a @LivingWageUK accredited employer and a member of their #Tech Leader… https://t.co/0whUXxjG5Z
Two weeks left to apply for the Mayor’s first ever #LDNcivicchallenge! Get involved to share your innovative ideas… https://t.co/AbNSPPW6kg
We held a great workshop this week w/ @foreignoffice looking at how tech & digital can combat illegal wildlife traf… https://t.co/qXDqWkngtC
We are looking forward to hearinh from @nicolag71, President of @SOCITM at our #techUKSmarterState conference. Last… https://t.co/Y7MVlGpzRY
Seen the Future of Mobility Challenge at the @SMMT yet? If you’ve got solutions to key mobility challenges, then do… https://t.co/aJ3W5ttky4
The @IoCoding will enable companies to build workforces fit for the future, by offering high quality learning, buil… https://t.co/hsXZUD0eS5
Catch up on this week's digital and tech policy news with a new Policy Pulse, hot off the presses! https://t.co/Y37B0i9hel