The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and 5 are working in tandem to create a new streaming service – Freely TV – designed to provide the UK audience with a seamless viewing experience.
Set to launch in 2024, the four traditional free-to-air broadcasters will combine their respective channels together for British viewers to browse and watch live TV content on demand via their smart TV and other devices.
The BBC stated that the move “puts the distribution of free TV at the centre of the streaming age”, with the new service being able to provide millions of homes with an “easy access to a single consistent experience for live free TV over IP”.
Everyone TV is behind the development of the streaming platform and aims to integrate the service into smart TVs and feature public service broadcaster content to replicate the content of the free-to-air channels which are currently in 16 million UK homes.
Jonathan Thompson, Everyone TV Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be working with the public service broadcasters on the next phase of free TV’s evolution. This new development is a reflection of the fact that a growing number of UK viewers are watching content online, but still want easy access to the shared experience of live TV.
“Our aim is to ensure that all viewers have access to a free, aggregated live TV experience that champions British content and is delivered in a way that suits audience needs and preferences. Every one of us should be able to share the best of British ideas and creativity on TV.”
This landmark news for UK TV could prove to be a pivotal one for sports fans in the country, as the four broadcasters all host a wide variety of sporting events, matches and content on their respective channels.
The BBC currently owns the rights to broadcast the 2024 Paris Olympics, as well as sharing EURO 2024 matches with ITV, with the latter also set to resume its role as provider of England friendly and qualifier matches from September 2024, after recently winning back the rights from Channel 4.
Tim Davie, Director General of the BBC, added: “Ensuring the universality of public-service television is sustained into the future is of paramount importance to the UK and all its public service broadcasters.
“We are delighted to be deepening our collaboration in helping viewers access our content, ensuring that, in a digital age, we deliver value for all audiences and that no one is left behind.”