Australia: Freeview enhanced HbbTV platform

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Freeview Australia has launched its free enhanced HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) service, which it says will provide Australians with a more seamless integration between broadcast and on-demand BVoD services.

As well as providing a more streamlined way to search and discover a world of free-to-air (FTA) entertainment across more than 35 channels, it also enables free and on demand access to a library of more than 50,000 individual programmes and episodes, from back catalogue, to current programmes and digital exclusives.

Freeview’s new HbbTV service, which will be rolled out from April 14th, will deliver a more simplified viewer experience. The comprehensive search function will make content easier to discover as viewers will be able to search for content across ABC iview, SBS On Demand, 7plus, 9Now and 10 play without the need to download individual broadcaster apps.

Freeview Australia’s HbbTV application is built using the latest HbbTV 2.0 standard and it joins the UK as the only other service in the world delivering an aggregated platform across multiple broadcasters on this latest standard. The new service also provides a simple on-screen programme guide that makes it easier than ever to see what’s available across every Freeview broadcaster in Australia.

“I am very excited about the new HbbTV powered Freeview service for connected TVs, which is an important advance in free-to-air television in Australia,” declared Helen Clifton, Freeview Chair and ABC’s Chief Digital and Information Officer. “Not only will it provide audiences with a streamlined way to search and discover content, but it also opens up access to the complete free-to-air on-demand catalogue – over 5,000 hours of content.”

“The launch of a new gateway for TV viewing also means Freeview can take advantage of the latest technologies and bring audiences an improved and richer interactive experience which will help drive the industry forward.”

“Freeview’s role in Australian TV is critical as free-to-air is the best way of making more great content free, and universally accessible, to more people, connecting them across Australia’s vast landscape,” she stated.

“We are delivering a whole new Freeview experience by creating a gateway to the world of news and entertainment that’s free and easily accessible” added Bridget Fair, Freeview Australia’s CEO. “We can now explore and discover content from last night or the last decade. More than 17 million of us watch FTA television every week, and with broadcast video on demand (BVoD) services enjoying a 38 per cent increase YoY, we have an insatiable appetite for great content.”

“Our role at Freeview is to keep pace with this demand and ensure that we are constantly innovating to serve the millions of Australians who vote with their remotes every day.”

“Today’s announcement is also great news for the networks and advertisers. With the launch of the new service, there is now an easier way to search and view linear and BVoD content with access to thousands of additional episodes and items. We know that Australians will be excited and engaged in this new FTA experience,” she concluded.

“The ABC has been broadcasting into Australian loungerooms for the last 65 years,” reported ABC Managing Director, David Anderson. “We are as committed today, as we were when we first broadcast, to ensuring that our news, current affairs, drama, kids and all our programming is accessible and free to as many Australians as possible. The launch of Freeview’s new HbbTV services is an exciting evolution for the 17 million Australians who tune in to free-to-air TV every week as it offers a more simplified, integrated and intuitive way to search and discover the high-quality, distinctive programmes – both live and on demand – we have to offer.”

To ensure the widest accessibility to Australian viewers, the new HbbTV service has been built on new HbbTV 2.0 devices but is also fully backward compatible with all Freeview-certified HbbTV 1.5 devices (dating back to 2014) through the dynamic delivery of different app versions to suit varying TV requirements.

“With these announcements, Freeview continues to innovate and joins the ranks of leading global connected TV players harnessing the power of HbbTV,” said Fair. “This new HbbTV technology is breaking ground as the leading delivery platform for DVB’s new targeted advertising specification and continues to set standards for broadcast television by transforming possibilities for viewers”.

Freeview has also unveiled a refreshed brand identity which consolidates the Freeview branding under one easily identifiable logo. This is the first significant brand refresh since Freeview launched in 2008 and is deliberately consistent with the UK’s brand to demonstrate international support for HbbTV.

Freeview’s brand refresh and launch of HbbTV is supported by 15’ and 30’ TVCs – broadcast and digital – which launch early May, plus dedicated digital, social and PR campaigns.


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