Meet the Freemoji – which forms the logo for Freely. The streaming service is due to launch in 2024 and is expected to replace Freeview and Freesat in the long term.
- Service will allow viewers to access live and on-demand content from all main free-to-air broadcasters via broadband internet.
- Hisense announced as first smart TV partner for the service.
- The TV manufacturer has signed a five year deal, with the first Freely TVs hitting the shops in 2024.
Everyone TV, the organisation responsible for the development of free TV in the UK, has unveiled the brand identity and first smart TV partner for its new streaming service, Freely.
Freely will be built into the next generation of smart TVs. The new service, which has also revealed its logo and ‘Freemoji’ character, will enable UK households to stream live TV channels alongside on demand content for the first time for free via their smart TVs, removing the need for a dish or aerial.
The service was first unveiled in September as the long-awaited ‘next generation free-to-air platform’ that the BBC had been promising for a while in its annual plans.
Everyone TV, formerly known as Digital UK, says more details around Freely will be announced in 2024. Details will include additional smart TV partners and launch timings.
▶ Broadband-only TV homes
Freely aims to appeal in the first instance to broadband-only TV homes in the UK. These are currently in the minority, but the figure’s expected to rise dramatically in the coming years.
Many homes supplement terrestrial, satellite and cable TV services with internet-delivered on-demand and streaming services. But 85% still rely on their aerial, dish or cable for access to the main channels.
Percentage of broadband-only TV homes in the UK*
15% of homes equates to around 4 million homes* who don’t use a dish, aerial or cable TV to access TV services.
Major providers of streaming only TV platforms in the UK at the moment: Sky, Virgin Media and EE (ex-BT).
*BARB Establishment Survey
Freely on Hisense TVs
Freely will power an interactive TV guide on Hisense TVs, giving viewers access to live and on demand content all in one place, with additional features still to be announced.
Hisense will incorporate the new Freely brand across its 2024 TVs, remotes, packaging, and retail environments.
First announced in September 2023, Freely is the result of a collaboration between Britain’s four leading broadcasters – BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5 – putting free TV front and centre of the streaming age. The new service will deliver the best live and on demand content from public service broadcasters and other free-to-air channels all in one place over broadband, for free for the first time.
What will Freely offer?
In some regards, Freely will aim to offer the same seamless TV viewing experience that Freeview and Freesat can offer viewers.
Freely will allow users to browse channels simply through an intuitive TV guide as well as easily find, and explore, new and iconic shows directly from live TV and on demand.
Speaking about the new brand identity, Amy Rowcliffe, Marketing Director, Everyone TV said:
“We are excited to introduce the brand identity for our new TV proposition Freely. The name Freely represents the ability to watch for free but also the freedom to choose how and what you watch. We have a cheeky, modern, and expressive character – which we have dubbed ‘Freemoji’ – that brings the brand to life as the viewer’s welcoming and inquisitive companion. Happy, sad, excited, scared, great free TV has the power to make us feel every emotion and we wanted a character to represent this. Our distinctive new branding will bring free TV into the streaming age for everyone – with a world of endless entertainment, all in one place.”
Regarding the partnership with Hisense, Deep Halder, Chief Commercial Officer, Everyone TV, added:
“We’re delighted that Hisense is partnering with us to bring Freely to market in the UK. Building on our long history of working together successfully, we are excited to be bringing the first free aggregated live and on demand TV experience to British viewers, built into Hisense’s next-gen Smart TVs. We look forward to announcing further partners ahead of launch to ensure Freely will be available on a wide range of TVs at differing price points, offering viewers the choice to future-proof their TV purchase.”
Howard Grindrod, Vice President, Hisense UK said:
“We’re proud to be leading the way and becoming the first TV manufacturers to bring Freely to the UK market. We’re always looking to enhance our product offering and find new ways to add value to our consumers, and this partnership with Freely does just that.”
Arun Bhatoye, Head of Marketing, Hisense UK commented:
“We’re excited to partner with Freely, an innovative platform bringing UK viewers their beloved content across the latest Hisense TV line-up. This offering enables Hisense customers to enjoy major sports matches and live TV events through Freely, without the need for a TV aerial. Our philosophy revolves around giving our customers more choice and this collaboration remains consistent with that principle.”
[Image: Everyone TV]