UKTV Play expands reach with Freeview Play launch
James R | On 06, Apr 2016
UKTV Play is coming to Freeview Play later this year.
UKTV’s VOD service, which offers catch-up and live content from the broadcaster’s range of TV channels, is expanding its reach by joining Freeview Play’s array of streaming services.
Freeview Play, which launched in October, is a subscription-free service which combines catch up, on demand services and live television, and is available via TVs and set-top boxes.
The UKTV Play app will arrive on Freeview Play devices in Q2 2016. The app boasts an array of features including UKTV Play-exclusive previews of brand new series, and “My List”, allowing users to create their own bespoke collection. Viewers also have the benefit of selecting shows to catch up on by scrolling backwards in the EPG.
Users of the service will be able to watch popular UKTV Originals David Gorman Modern Life is Goodish, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled and Storage Hunters UK. UKTV has also grouped collections of programmes by themes and moods and celebrity picks.
UKTV Play general manager, Emma Boston, says: “We’re committed to building a world-class on demand service and making it available to as many people as possible, so it’s really exciting to be announcing another big platform launch for UKTV Play. Freeview Play users will have access to a slate of incredible shows coming to the service this year, including Dave’s brand new and exclusive Red Dwarf.”
Freeview Managing Director, Guy North says: “Since launching Freeview Play last year the service has continued to grow with more broadcasters and manufacturers coming on board. It’s fantastic to be adding UKTV Play to our offering and means we’re bringing viewers even more of the very best television whenever they want it without paying for a subscription.”
UKTV is the biggest multichannel broadcaster in Britain, home to 10 linear channels including the two biggest non-PSB channels in the UK, Dave and Drama. UKTV launched its VOD service, UKTV Play, in summer 2014 and has rapidly rolled it out across multiple devices and platforms, including Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, YouView, Virgin TV and BT TV, as well as iOS and Android devices.
The news arrives as the VOD service enjoys a bumper year. Views on the catch-up site surged 26 per cent in 2015, compared to 2014, with episodes of US shows Suits and The Last Man on Earth, plus user favourites Alan Davies As Yet Untitled, Sin City Motors, The Bill, The Ghost Inside My Child and Dead Gallipoli, all driving the growth. UKTV Play also had a cracking Easter, with views jumping 185 per cent year-on-year across the Bank Holiday weekend. Apple devices have also played a major part in UKTV Play’s expansion: iOS app downloads increased 175 per cent month-on-month in December 2015, compared to January 2015.
For more on what’s worth watching on UKTV Play, keep up to speed with our weekly Catch Up TV column.