ITV and Channel 4 have confirmed they are joining DTV Services, the consortium which owns and markets Freeview. The broadcasters are each taking 20% stakes alongside similar holdings owned by DTV Service's three founding shareholders, the BBC, BSkyB and National Grid Wireless (formerly known as Crown Castle UK). Financial terms have not been disclosed.
Freeview chairman Peter Abery, who in March said he would welcome ITV and Channel 4 as shareholders in DTV Services, said: "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. 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.
"With the addition of more channels, including ITV4, More4 and Sky3 soon to be joining Freeview, the service offers an exciting channel line up for consumers looking to get digital TV."
ITV chief executive Charles Allen said: "The rapid growth of the DTT 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."
Channel 4 CEO Andy Duncan—who when at the BBC played a major role in establishing the Freeview proposition—said: "Building a powerful multichannel presence is central to Channel 4's future strategy and developing a strong position on Freeview is a crucial part of this ambition.
"E4 has more than doubled its share of the multichannel TV audience year-on-year this autumn following its launch on Freeview and our new adult entertainment channel, More4, will also attract a significant percentage of its viewing from Freeview homes following its launch on Monday.
"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."
Lovelace Consulting | 13.10.2005