ITV and Channel 4 have become equal shareholders in DTV Services Limited, the company that owns and markets the Freeview brand, joining the BBC, BSkyB and National Grid Wireless (formerly Crown Castle UK).
Established three years ago in October 2002, following the collapse of ITV Digital, the Freeview free-to-air digital terrestrial television brand is recognised as one of the fastest growing retail consumer electronics products to launch in the UK, with over 5 million homes having a set-top box.
“We’re delighted to welcome ITV and Channel 4 to the consortium at a time when the Freeview service continues to go from strength to strength,” said Peter Abery, chairman of Freeview. “ITV and Channel 4’s involvement, both from a strategic and financial point of view, will further enable us to raise awareness of the Freeview service as we continue to drive digital terrestrial take-up in the UK.”
Charles Allen, chief executive of ITV plc said the rapid growth of the digital terrestrial television platform and the success of Freeview offer a great opportunity for ITV as a content provider, channel owner and multiplex licence holder. “There are very real benefits for ITV in growing and developing Freeview, and the most effective way for us to do that is to be at the heart of the marketing effort,” he said.
“Freeview has transformed the television industry since its launch three years ago,” said Andy Duncan, chief executive of Channel 4. “Building a powerful multi-channel presence is central to Channel 4’s future strategy and developing a strong position on Freeview is a crucial part of this ambition. We believe that Channel 4 and its sister services play a key role in helping drive take-up of Freeview and it’s logical that we should now take a more formal role in the running and marketing of the service.”