BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and network operator Arqiva will invest £125 million in Freeview Play, which has established itself as the leading free-to-view connected platform, eclipsing YouView in which many of the Freeview partners also played a part..
Since launch in 2015, more than three-and-a-half million Freeview Play products have been sold in the UK from brands including Panasonic, LG, Sony, and Toshiba, accounting for 60% of smart TV sales.
Jonathan Thompson, CEO of Digital UK, said: “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. Building on this spirit of collaboration, we will not only safeguard free-to-view TV but reinvent it for a new age of viewing.”
Amongst the development plans for the platform are a new mobile app enabling viewers to access live and on-demand content on a range of smartphones and tablets, launching later this year; 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 and improved navigation through voice search, and further evolution of the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) on televisions.