Freeview and Digital UK to Develop a New Connected TV Offer

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Update 26 November 2014:  Digital UK has announced the signing of major contracts to build and test a new Freeview-branded connected TV service.  More information is available on the Digital UK connected TV page.

Press release from 5 June 2014:
Freeview and Digital UK today announced plans to develop a new Freeview-branded connected TV service which will make the best of broadcast and on-demand TV available free for everyone.

The two companies’ shareholders including the UK’s leading broadcasters are backing a five-year plan to support the development and marketing of a connected TV proposition.

The new offer will give viewers easy access to both broadcast and on-demand TV, including a range of popular catch-up players.

Ilse Howling, previously Managing Director of Freeview, has been appointed to the role of Managing Director, Connected TV at Digital UK and will lead a new dedicated team to develop the product specification for the new service working in close co-operation with manufacturers and industry bodies and based on open standards.

Freeview’s former Marketing Communications Director, Guy North, has taken over the role as Managing Director of Freeview and will lead the team responsible for TV advertising and marketing campaigns for the Freeview brand and product portfolio.
The aim will be for manufacturers to launch a new range of connected Freeview HD televisions and boxes which consumers will be able to buy in store. People will be able to watch the service via their TV aerial and current broadband provider without being tied to a contract.

Details on launch timing and a brand name for the new service are to be confirmed.
Ilse Howling, Managing Director, Connected TV at Digital UK said: “I’m delighted to be joining Digital UK to lead development of the new connected service. The company is well placed to develop the next generation specification and work with the supply chain to support a new, mass market service to make connected TV available free, for everyone.”

Guy North, Managing Director, Freeview said: “Freeview is at the heart of the nation’s viewing and I’m proud to be leading the company into the next chapter of its history. People know and love the Freeview brand and will trust us to help them enjoy watching catch-up and on-demand TV in the future, alongside the high quality channels that Freeview already offers.”

Jonathan Thompson, Chief Executive of Digital UK, said: “Digital terrestrial television is a great success story of British broadcasting and plays a vital role in the overall health of our TV sector. This announcement marks a critical step in the next stage of the platform’s development, ensuring that it will remain as relevant, important and valued by viewers in the future as it is today.”

The companies’ shareholders confirmed their investment in a joint statement: “We are delighted to be supporting the Freeview platform to develop and market a Freeview branded connected TV service which will bring catch-up television to a mass market and give viewers even more choice in how they access TV programmes.”

Notes:
Images of Ilse Howling, Guy North and Jonathan Thompson can be downloaded at: www.digitaluk.co.uk/pressimages

About Freeview: Launched in 2002, Freeview is a subscription-free TV service providing over 60 digital TV channels as standard and a further ten HD channels when using an HD television or HD set top box/recorder. All standard Freeview channels are also available on YouView and BT Vision.

Freeview is managed by DTV Services Ltd, a company owned and run by its five shareholders:  BBC, BSkyB, Channel 4, ITV and Arqiva.

Digital UK supports Freeview viewers and channels. It manages strategy, policy and service development for digital terrestrial television (DTT) in the UK and provides day-to-day technical management of the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). The company is owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva.

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