All’s fair in love and war, especially if you’re a major UK broadcaster. Once big investors in YouView, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have agreed plans to kill the service they helped create by doubling-down on Freeview. The three companies (joined by Sky and Arqiva) are attempting to secure the free-to-air service’s future by developing a new branded connected TV platform that will bring on-demand (or catch-up) content to Freeview for the first time. The five-year deal will see TV channels and on-demand apps like iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD come as standard on smart TVs with internet connections. It deliberately goes against BT and TalkTalk, which have been accused of taking YouView’s free-to-air principles and turning it into a paid (and quite pricey, if you include the cost of the box) service. Given that Freeview is already widely supported, the Beeb et al. may find it easy to convince TV manufacturers to adopt a new connected variant. If they do, expect on-demand services to come embedded as standard in the near future.
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