The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have collaborated on the development of Freely, a new free TV service that will deliver live TV over broadband.
Set for launch in 2024, Freely will allow viewers to browse and watch live TV channels together with on demand content on their smart TV via the internet.
The service has been developed by Everyone TV the organisation which runs free TV in the UK and is jointly owned by the BBC, ITV, C4 and C5.
It aims to replicate the terrestrial TV experience, building on the heritage of the Freeview TV platform, which is currently used in 16m homes.
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Everyone TV said that viewers will be able to browse channels through a “modern and intuitive” programme guide designed to make it easier to find and explore new shows directly from live TV.
Jonathan Thompson, CEO of Everyone TV, said: “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 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 in the best of British ideas and creativity on TV.”
Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie, said: “Ensuring the universality of public-service television is sustained into the future 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.”
Dame Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, said: “As more and more UK 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 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. Alongside the important reforms set out in the draft Media Bill it will help PSBs to continue to thrive for years to come.”