Everyone TV, a consortium made of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, will roll out a new free service delivering live TV over broadband.
The new platform, Freely, is set for launch in 2024, delivering live TV channels and on-demand content over smart TV sets to broadband-only homes. The lineup will consist of public-service broadcaster content and other free-to-air channels, replicating the terrestrial TV experience. It will build on the success of Freeview, which is in use in some 16 million U.K. homes.
Jonathan Thompson, CEO of Everyone TV, noted: “We are delighted to be working with the public-service broadcasters on the next phase of free TV’s evolution. This new development is a reflection of the fact that a growing number of U.K. 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 in the best of British ideas and creativity on TV.”
Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, added: “Ensuring the universality of public-service television is sustained into the future is of paramount importance to the U.K. 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.”
Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, noted: “As more and more U.K. households use internet-connected TVs, it’s critical that the public-service broadcaster channels remain available and easy for them to find. This new collaboration enables the U.K. public to continue to get all of their favorite British TV channels, for free, just as Freeview did at the advent of digital TV. Alongside the important reforms set out in the draft Media Bill, it will help PSBs to continue to thrive for years to come.”
Alex Mahon, CEO of Channel 4, said: “Streaming TV is increasingly the new normal for audiences, particularly young viewers, so it has never been more important for trusted PSB content to be readily available to everyone, for free. We look forward to working closely with our PSB partners so that when the Media Bill’s prominence provisions become law, the technology to make Britain’s favorite TV shows easy to find will already be in place.”
Maria Kyriacou, president of broadcast and studios for international markets at Paramount, said: “We know that British audiences continue to have a strong appetite for the high-quality, relevant and impartial content provided by our U.K. public-service broadcasters such as Channel 5. This new collaboration across the PSBs will ensure that, as these viewers continue to shift to IP-enabled televisions, they continue to have an easy way to access the channels and content they know and love.”