VuTV will air on Freeview channel 238 and allow subscribers to enjoy a range of premium channels from established brands. A+E Networks, Viacom International Media Networks and Turner Broadcasting are the first major broadcasters to sign up to VuTV, making channel favourites such as Comedy Central, BIO, MTV, CNN, HISTORY, H2, Crime & Investigation Network, Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr., Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Cartoonito, available to Internet-connected Freeview HD homes.
VuTV is the first of a number of services to be powered by Synapse TV, a joint venture between Simplestream and broadcast technology specialist Strategy & Technology. It was borne out of a desire to offer consumers the opportunity to access premium content via compatible Freeview HD TVs and set-top boxes. Unlike traditional pay-TV providers, VuTV aims to offer these channels for a low, monthly subscription, with no long-term contract, providing consumers with great value and hassle-free flexibility.
Dan Finch, director of Simplestream, noted that the company has worked with a wide range of broadcasters to stream their linear and on-demand TV to multiple devices, and found that the content owners it engaged with embraced the idea of targeting the Freeview HD market with their portfolio of channels. “As the public get wiser to connecting up their TVs, and the TVs get smarter, it’s a great opportunity for channel providers to tap into the Freeview market and gain access to real time viewing data of their channels that can be used to help shape their own marketing strategy,” he advised.
BARB will measure viewing of all VuTV channels in the same way as traditional over-the-air (OTA) channels, helping to increase the broadcasters’ advertising revenue generation. In addition, the underlying solution from Synapse offers detailed analytics of channel consumption, providing unique insights into viewer behaviour.
Synapse offers an integrated, end-to-end solution for the simultaneous over-the-top (OTT) delivery of linear and on-demand content to multiple connected platforms, such as Freeview HD as well as tablets, smartphones, PCs and games consoles.
On Freeview HD, Synapse services are accessed via a dedicated channel number listed in the electronic programme guide (EPG) and easily accessed directly by viewers using their existing remote control in exactly the same way as traditional over-the-air (OTA) channels. Synapse allows content providers, broadcasters and platform operators to deliver their services via the rapidly growing base of connected Freeview HD receivers, all at a fraction of the cost of traditional OTA delivery. Services can be free-to-view, subscription-based, advertising supported, or pay-per-view, with content protection and industry-standard encryption available if required.
Simplestream notes that VuTV will give the fast-growing connected Freeview HD audience more choice of content than ever before. Synapse is working with leading manufacturers to ensure maximum receiver compatibility and deliver the quality of user experience demanded by consumers.
David Cutts, managing director of S&T, says: “The underlying technology is complex, with specialist knowledge and experience required to deliver an integrated, end-to-end, solution. However, we have worked to provide a viewing experience for VuTV that is simple, already familiar to consumers, and just works.” Content will be streamed to subscribers via Synapse TV’s secure Content Delivery Network (CDN), built using Amazon Web Services, which will ensure that VuTV can adapt to any scale that the market demands.
Synapse TV will be debuting VuTV at IBC, Stand 1, B22.