Digital UK Ltd is to combine the operations of the UK terrestrial platform Freeview with those of the satellite platform Freesat.
Digital UK, which is owned jointly by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, facilitates the Freeview TV platform, while the subscription free satellite platform Freesat is operated on behalf of the BBC and ITV.
The organisation said the merged operation would benefit from technological innovations and developments across the two services.
Jonathan Thompson, CEO, Digital UK, said: “We welcome this opportunity to work more closely with Freesat whilst continuing to deliver our mission of ensuring everyone in the UK can access a high-quality TV service for free. The combined entity will promote the very best of free-to-view content whilst reflecting the changing nature of consumer consumption.”
In December it was announced that Arqiva was to stand down as a shareholder it Digital UK following reluctance to invest further in Digital UK’s Freeview Plus, the HbbTV-based hybrid platform that has been able to add streaming services from both Freeview’s PSB shareholders and the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV.
Arqiva officially stands down at the end of the month, and will continue to provide infrastructure services, but the transmission company’s departure has tidied up the shareholder structure.
“We believe that building on the best that both Freesat and DUK have to offer will ensure that free to air continues to be an exciting and vibrant proposition for UK consumers. This proposition will continue to provide UK viewers with great content however they choose to consume it, whether that is linear or on demand,” said Alistair Thom, CEO, Freesat.
The integration is subject to regulatory approval and can be expected to close in the next few months.