Prior to its consumer launch later this week, executives behind TV streaming service VuTV have revealed further details of the operation’s positioning and strategy.
Speaking exclusively to advanced-television.com, Mike Alexander, Business Development Manager at Strategy & Technology (S&T), confirmed that the service would be available on Channel 238 on UK DTT Platform Freeview and deliver linear channels over-the-top to Freeview HD boxes.
A+E Networks, Viacom International Media Networks and Turner Broadcasting are the first major broadcasters to sign up to VuTV, featuring channels such as Lifetime, Comedy Central, MTV, CNN, History, H2, Crime & Investigation Network, Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr., Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Cartoonito.
“We believe it will be a great value proposition with the channels we have at launch and we have more channels we plan to add in 2014,” he said, adding that by using consumers’ existing Freeview HD boxes, no extra boxes, remotes or power supplies were required.
The service is powered by Synapse, a joint venture between Strategy & Technology and bespoke streaming solutions provider Simplestream, and leverages their respective technology and expertise to provide a comprehensive and fully-integrated solution for OTT delivery of linear and on-demand services to a range of connected platforms.
“We worry about all the technology, and if someone has content that they want to get onto one of these platforms, they can give us access to that content, and we can do everything else that is needed to be done to deliver that to consumers,” explained Alexander.
Noting Freeview research that suggests there are some 7.6 million Freeview HD TVs and boxes in the marketplace which have some form of Internet connectivity, Alexander estimated that there are currently between 0.7 and 1.5 million compatible and connected receivers, with that number set to grow rapidly in 2014.
Alexander said that VuTV is targeting a rapidly-growing population of Freeview HD Internet-connected homes that don’t currently have a pay-TV package, suggesting that that there are lots of people out there that would like premium TV, but are not willing to pay the levels of monthly subscriptions required by existing platforms.
For channels, Alexander suggested that VuTV was a very cost-effective way to reach the large audience of Freeview consumers compared to using a traditional over-the-air channel which could cost millions.
David Cutts, Managing Director of S&T, said the service would grow and evolve from its launch technologies and capabilities, “just as fast as we can evolve the software” while still trying to keep it simple for consumers. “We have a road map of things we are going to do to add channels and features to the service … the service can evolve from here on in; this is Step One. We think we’ll be able to extend this ‘pay-TV lite’ on Freeview quite extensively.”
While this week’s launch will confirm pricing points, VuTV plans more of a consumer push in 2014, when further channels are set to be added to the service.