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UK subscription-free satellite TV service Freesat has reported a “solid” start to 2016 as it continues to enhance its content offering and build international partnerships.
The number of homes connected to Freesat by both satellite and broadband is up by 54 per cent year-on-year. This results from customers choosing to complement their linear free-to-air TV viewing with on-demand services, such as the recently launched Wuaki.tv – which provides the latest films on a pay-as-you-watch basis – together with the major free catch-up players, BBC iPlayer, All4, My5 and ITV Hub. Last month Freesat was also cleared by the BBC Trust to offer live pay sports services.
The number of homes with Freesat remains steady at 1.93 million, with sales of connected set-top boxes up 18 per cent year-on-year. Despite a declining TV market, Freesat’s most recent partnership with LG has continued to boost TV sales as more consumers choose to buy TVs with satellite tuners. More than 4 million viewers tune into the platform each week, where they can access over 200 TV and radio channels, including 12 in high-definition, with Channel 5 HD and Daystar HD added this year.
Freesat is also pursuing further opportunities to partner with international operators, with a view to helping them integrate linear television with broadband on-demand services. So far, Freesat has partnered with Irish broadcaster RTÉ to deliver a new product for Saorview, Ireland’s free digital television service. Selling internationally will further advance Freesat’s strategy, making it easier for content providers to launch their on-demand applications across various regions and free-to-air platforms.
Alistair Thom, Freesat’s managing director, said that by adding more quality channels and on-demand services to its subscription-free platform, the operator was able to offer consumers an attractive alternative to expensive TV contracts and hefty bills. “As always, we’re focusing on giving customers choice to watch the TV they want and plan to bring even more channels and players to the platform in the near future,” he added.