Freely enters the fray

Jonathon Thompson stands outside, smiling to the camera

Two decades on from the launch of its big brother Freeview, can Freely enjoy the same success in a different TV landscape? Freely is a new service from the UK PSBs, due to launch in the second quarter of 2024. It will deliver free live and on-demand TV to the growing number of homes that receive their content via the internet to a smart TV.

Freely has already revealed its arc-and-two-dots brand identity, dubbed Freemoji, together with its electronic programme guide interface and information on how channels will be organised.

Channel 4 makes subtitles available on Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media and Digital Platforms

The broadcaster will gradually increase the number of shows with subtitles, with The Great British Bake Off, The Last Leg and Gogglebox, as well as live television including Channel 4 News and F1 racing, being some of the first.

The announcement comes after the channels and on-demand services were affected on Saturday 25 September 2021, when the fire suppression system was triggered at Red Bee Media, the company that broadcasts them.

Careers in Tech in TV: What does the industry have to offer?

There has long been a technology skills gap in TV due to the competitive recruitment of graduates in related fields, and despite the best efforts of employers, that gap remains.

As Freeview’s Head of Technology Partnerships, Alex Russell, acknowledged, “It’s certainly true that companies like Google and other tech giants can pay higher graduate salaries. As a smaller company though we offer a different sort of environment with the same benefits around flexible working, an exciting range of projects, a great pension. It’s just about getting ourselves noticed.”

Freeview: The UK's biggest television platform comes of age

Freeview EPG (credit: Freeview)

When Broadcasting House was opened in 1932, the front of the building was likened to the prow of a ship. With a commanding view that befitted the vessel’s bridge was the grandest office. It belonged to John Reith, the first Director-General. But the office above his, acknowledged as the second-grandest in the building, with equally magnificent wood panelling and an even loftier view down Langham Place, was that of the chief engineer.

Liz Reynolds’ TV Diary

RTS Cambridge Convention 2019 (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

It’s September. That means back to school. And not just for the kids.

With Edinburgh hangovers barely forgotten, and TV execs and politicians still reeling from Dorothy Byrne’s outlandishly honest Mac­Taggart Lecture, conference season gets into full swing.

Not in Bournemouth but in Cambridge, courtesy of ITV, for the RTS biennial convention. There’s no prorogation for us.

Digital UK's Jonathan Thompson: "TV is turning into a global market"

Jonathan Thompson (Credit: Digital UK)

The UK’s most successful digital television platform, Freeview, passed another milestone last month, when it debuted its mobile app. Users can now stream live shows from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 plus on demand content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, and UKTV Play.

As the nation’s public service broadcasters dwell on the growing impact of Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, the move could be pivotal in ensuring that British PSBs don’t become stranded as young people’s video consumption moves more and more online.

Are children being spoilt for choice when it comes to TV?

Disney's Frozen

To many adults, the choice of viewing options for children is as incomprehensible as the whistling language of The Clangers. There is now a myriad of platforms, apps and subscription video-­on-demand (SVoD) services offering access to children’s shows. They include Amazon, Netflix, Freeview Play, YouView and Sky Go.

Children can watch their favourite CBBC shows, such as The Next Step, via the BBC iPlayer – or catch up with Nickelodeon brands, such as SpongeBob SquarePants, on the app Nick Play.

Local TV: Here to stay

London Live's Gavin Ramjaun

If you were to believe the headlines, you might think that local television – dismis­sed by some as "Jeremy Hunt’s pipe dream" – was dead in the water. The former Culture Secretary’s vision, scorned by most broadcasters, was bulldozed on to the statute book four years ago and the first channels are now 18 months old.

Hunt thought it wrong that Birmingham, Alabama, had eight local-TV ­stations while Birmingham, UK, had none, and secured some funding and the Channel 8 slot on Freeview (in England, at least) to help the new stations get established.