UK subscription-free satellite TV service Freesat has announced a positive start to the year, with strong take-up of Freetime, its connected TV service. Freesat says its continuing growth demonstrates the ongoing appeal of the free-to-air connected TV service, giving customers high quality technology and engaging content without any bills. Freesat viewers can access over 200 TV and radio channels, more than any other free-to-air provider, and at no monthly fee.
Freetime gained twice the number of new customers in Q1 2015 compared with the same period in 2014 and now accounts for 50 per cent of all Freesat set-top box sales for the fourth consecutive quarter. Growth has been driven by a user-friendly offering, which is continuously evolving and expanding through new channel launches and product development.
The latest addition to the Freesat line-up is new channel Spike from US media group Viacom – which owns UK commercial PSB Channel 5 – which launched on 15 April with programming that includes the critically-acclaimed Breaking Bad and Lip Sync Battle.
Remote record continues to be an important area of development and differentiation since its initial launch as a key feature of the Freesat App in January 2014. The strong take-up of the service led Freesat to offer the feature via e-mail to Freetime PVR customers in January 2015. Results have been positive with the number of customers setting remote recordings doubling every month. The popularity of the service has since driven its continued expansion across social media and the Freesat website.
The roll-out of the Freesat app for Kindle users drove demand for the Freesat app in the first quarter, helping the company to reach new audiences and achieve its goal of exceeding 500,000 downloads within the first year of launch.
The FreeTV Alliance, the broadcast industry association that Freesat launched in late 2014 alongside partners Fransat (France), Tivusat (Italy) and HD Plus (Germany), delivered on its initiative for open standards with the release of the first remote control specification. With more releases to come, the Alliance will continue to support the growth and harmonisation of free-to-air satellite TV services throughout Europe.
Alistair Thom, Freesat’s managing director, said that another strong quarter for Freesat clearly demonstrated the continuing growth and strength of the UK’s free-to-air proposition. “With critically acclaimed programmes such as Breaking Bad now available through Spike, Freesat continues to support our ever expanding content offering with connected technology that empowers customers and their viewing habits. Our efforts with the Free TV Alliance are also progressing as we work towards creating a common set of specifications and open standards. The Free TV Alliance can develop features comparable to Pay TV for manufacturers to readily adopt. Ultimately, we see an exciting opportunity for Freesat to engage commercially on an international scale.”