June 21, 2024

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The British broadcasters are collaborating on a landmark free TV service that will deliver live television over broadband.

Freely is being organized by Everyone TV, the organization that runs Freeview in the UK and is jointly owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

Launching next year, the new service will be built in to the next generation of smart TVs and feature shows from across the public broadcasters and other free-to-air-channels. It will “replicate” the terrestrial TV experience but be accessible through broadband, according to the press note.

“We are delighted to be working with the public service broadcasters on the next phase of free TV’s evolution,” said Everyone TV CEO Jonathan Thompson.

“This new development is 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.”

The move is reflective of the greater collaboration the broadcasters have been trying to enact to take on the U.S. giants. ITV and the BBC launched streamer BritBox in 2019 although the BBC has since sold its stake in that platform. It is also reminiscent of Project Kangaroo, the botched joint streaming service that was canned by the regulator in the late-noughties.

The news comes just under a year after BBC Director General Tim Davie delivered a landmark speech in which he imagined an internet-only future where linear channels have become IP only.

Freely will be discussed later this week at the RTS Cambridge convention.

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