Digital UK and Freesat to merge TV services

The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have announced plans to integrate Digital UK and Freesat (UK). This will help ensure viewers continue to have access to a range of free-to-view TV services in the UK, as well as benefit from technological innovations and developments across the two services. 

Digital UK facilitates the provision of Freeview TV services, while Freesat (UK) – established in 2007 by the BBC and ITV – offers access to the UK’s subscription-free satellite television service with catch-up and pay-as-you-go options as well.

Jonathan Thompson, CEO of 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.”

Alistair Thom, CEO at Freesat, added: “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.”

The integration is conditional on receipt of merger control and regulatory approvals, and, subject to those approvals, is expected to close in a few months.

In similar news, Freeview has said that its connected TV service, Freeview Play, is now home to over 30,000 hours of on-demand TV.

It has increased its content by more than half in just two years. This comes following the addition of new players, alongside the drive from British broadcasters to make even more on-demand TV available for all.

Freeview Play is apparently home to 95 per cent of the nation’s favourite TV, from on-demand players including BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, CBS Catchup Channels UK, Horror Bites, STV Player, POP Player and BBC Sounds.