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Freesat expands Freetime footprint as it beams down in 1.9m homes

Freesat doubled the number of sign ups to its Freetime smart TV service in the first quarter of 2015 compared to a year ago. 

The subscription-free satellite TV provider launched Freetime back in 2012, giving viewers the option to tune into missed shows via a backwards-scrolling EPG that provided shortcuts to content hosted on services like BBC iPlayer that was broadcast earlier in the week. 

In a manner similar to YouView-based TV services, Virgin Media TiVo and Sky On Demand, Freesat gives customers a taste of a smart TV experience without requiring them to pay monthly fees. 

The big three have all recently announced price-rises, with Sky and BT upping their costs to cover the huge outlay of acquiring Premier League and European Football broadcast rights, while Virgin Media’s own climbing costs were also connected with the soaring prices involved in top-flight football, an issue which the company has asked TV regulator Ofcom to investigate.

Freesat, which is part-owned by both the BBC and ITV, is now in over 1.9 million UK homes and tots up an impressive four million viewers every week, a number which has recently been buoyed by the addition of new channel Spike to its roster.

The new UK channel, also available on Freeview, YouView and Sky, is bringing every episode of Breaking Bad to free to air TV for the first time ever alongside The Walking Dead plus homegrown efforts like Vinnie Jones-starring Police Interceptors Unleashed

Freesat’s managing director, Alistair Thom, said: “I’m thrilled to report another strong quarter for Freesat that clearly demonstrates the continuing growth and strength of the UK’s free-to-air proposition. With critically acclaimed programmes such as Breaking Bad now available through Spike, Freesat continues to support our ever expanding content offering with connected technology that empowers customers and their viewing habits.”

As well as streamlined access to catch-up and on-demand services including ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5 and YouTube, Freetime also lets Freesat viewers remotely manage recordings through a mobile app, available for iOS, Android and Kindle devices. 

Thom added:  “Our efforts with the Free TV Alliance are also progressing as we work towards creating a common set of specifications and open standards. The Free TV Alliance can develop features comparable to Pay TV for manufacturers to readily adopt. Ultimately, we see an exciting opportunity for Freesat to engage commercially on an international scale.”

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