Freely to compete with UK Streamers next year
The prominent broadcasters are slated to launch Freely next year, a free UK-based streaming service that will give viewers the luxury of watching live TV over broadband. By: Theng Min Yee
In a strategic move by UK broadcasters to compete with streamers like Netflix and Prime Video, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, they will be rolling out a free streaming service “Freely” next year. The new service will allow viewers access live channels and on-demand content, via their smart TV.
Developed by Everyone TV, the upcoming service runs free TV in the UK, and is co-owned by UK broadcasters. The service seeks to recreate the terrestrial TV experience and enhance the existing Freeview TV platform that is currently subscribed by 16 million homes.
Jonathan Thompson, CEO of Everyone TV, described Freely’s development as “a reflection of the fact that a growing number of UK viewers are watching content online, but still want easy access to the shared experience of live TV.”
“Our aim is to ensure that all viewers have access to a free, aggregated live TV experience that champions British content and is delivered in a way that suits audience needs and preferences. Every one of us should be able to share the best of British ideas and creativity on TV,” he added.
BBC chief Tim Davie said: “Ensuring the universality of public-service television is sustained is of paramount importance to the UK and all its public service broadcasters. We are delighted to be deepening our collaboration in helping viewers access our content, ensuring that, in a digital age, we deliver value for all audiences and that no one is left behind.”
ITV CEO Carolyn McCall remarked that the collaboration “enables the UK public to continue to get all of their favourite British TV channels, for free – just as Freeview did at the advent of digital TV”.
This is the first time that the broadcasters have successfully launched a combined streaming platform, after the attempt was denied by the UK’s Competition Commission 15 years ago.
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