23 September 2023

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UK Public Sector Broadcasters to Launch New Digital Service to Compete with Streaming Platforms

2 min read
UK Public Sector Broadcasters to Launch New Digital Service to Compete with Streaming Platforms

Britain’s public sector broadcasters, including the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4, are set to launch a new digital service called “Freely.” This service will eliminate the need for an aerial to access all freely available channels, allowing the broadcasters to directly compete with large streaming platforms. The platform will deliver live TV over broadband and will be integrated into the next generation of smart TVs.

Currently, UK viewers can watch live broadcasts over broadband through individual broadcaster apps, but there is no electronic program guide access. With the introduction of Freely, viewers will be able to watch live TV channels alongside on-demand content streamed to their smart TVs via the internet. This move comes as traditional linear television faces increasing competition from streaming services.

According to Barb viewing data in 2022, live TV still accounts for more than half of all viewing in the UK. Tim Davie, the director-general of the BBC, emphasized the importance of ensuring the universality of public-service television. Freely is being developed Everyone TV, jointly owned the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5. The partners have also agreed on a new three-year funding deal to cover the launch costs and consumer marketing campaign for the service.

About 15% of homes in the UK already watch content online without connecting their TVs to an aerial, preferring to use broadband and apps like Netflix and iPlayer. This number is expected to grow to 50% the end of the decade. Freely aims to fill this gap offering an embedded service in smart TVs that provides a familiar, aggregated experience for live TV streaming over the internet.

The collaboration between the public sector broadcasters ensures that their channels remain easily accessible for UK households with internet-connected TVs. This becomes especially important as streaming platforms gain popularity and viewers shift away from traditional linear TV. The government has proposed new rules in the forthcoming media bill to guarantee the prominence of public sector channels on digital TVs. Everyone TV believes that Freely will complement these provisions for on-demand and streaming prominence set out in the draft media bill.

The launch of Freely will help public service broadcasters continue to thrive in the changing media landscape. With this new digital service, viewers will have convenient access to their favorite British TV channels for free.

– [Source 1]