HomeBussinessFreely, the Free U.K. Streaming Platform, Launches

Freely, the Free U.K. Streaming Platform, Launches


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Freely, a new free streaming service backed by U.K. broadcasters BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Paramount Global’s Channel 5, has launched.

Everyone TV, formerly known as Digital U.K., a joint venture of these broadcasters formed to “lead the evolution of free TV in the U.K.,” shared the news just after midnight London time on Tuesday. It had unveiled plans for the service in February, unveiling on Tuesday that “Freely is available through the next generation of smart TVs now on sale in stores and online.”

STV and S4C, free-to-air public service broadcasters for Scotland and Wales, respectively, will also bring their channels and on-demand content to Freely.

The key target audience for Freely are internet-only homes, which amount to around 4 million in the U.K. but are growing rapidly, according to the streamer.

Freely is only available in the U.K. and only on Smart TVs, but not tablets or other mobile devices. Beyond Hisense, previously announced as the first Freely smart TV partner, will also be offered by TiVo, a unit of Xperi, as part of its TiVo OS platform.

“Freely will futureproof live TV for the streaming age. For the first time, audiences can stream live TV channels alongside on-demand content for free via their smart TVs, removing the need for a dish or aerial,” said the broadcasters behind the streamer. They also touted “world-first innovations for free TV,” such as the ability for viewers to switch seamlessly between live and on-demand content from the U.K.’s public service broadcasters and to pause live TV for up to 15 minutes. Freely also provides easy access to more episodes from a show users are currently viewing, plus a familiar TV guide function.

Freely’s on-demand screen is similar to those known from many streaming services, featuring top picks, trending content and various individual channels’ selections. Overall, the service promises “less scrolling, more watching.”

“The new service marks the first time all four of Britain’s public service broadcasters have come together to launch a streaming proposition, signaling the beginning of a journey to secure the future of free TV through collaboration,” the partners highlighted. “Freely ensures all audiences continue to have easy access to an aggregated free TV experience, however they choose to connect.”


Courtesy of Freely

Said Kieran Clifton, director, BBC distribution & business development: “The launch of Freely is a historic moment for U.K. television. Collaboration between the U.K. public service broadcasters (PSBs) is critical to connecting and protecting all audiences as we transition towards the streaming era – and delivering live TV over broadband for free is a ground-breaking innovation that will futureproof public service broadcasting.”

Added Martin Goswami, ITV group strategic partnerships and distribution director: “Bringing live streamed channels and on-demand content together in Freely gives viewers the opportunity to access the very best in British content as easily as possible, from live and recent programs to a wealth of on-demand options.”

Grace Boswood, technology & distribution director at Channel 4, said: “Freely will deliver the best of Britain’s world-leading public service content seamlessly and for free. It further supports Channel 4’s Fast Forward strategy as we accelerate our transformation into the streaming age, ensuring our trusted, brand-safe content is available to everyone.”

Check out a teaser video for Freely below.

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