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Netflix, LG and Freetime helps Freesat grow; still shy of 2m customers

Freesat’s latest financial figures show the satellite TV service continuing to grow, with the now-Netflix toting connected platform Freetime leading the charge. 

In the last three months of 2015, 36,000 new customers signed up for Freesat hardware, bringing the total number of customers who shelled out for subscription-free satellite TV last year to 61,000. 

Freesat puts this growth down to the launch of Netflix on Freetime set-top boxes in December as well as the launch of Freesat-enabled LG TVs. This means Freesat is now available in over 1.93 million households and is watched by more than four million viewers every week. 

While this is small beer compared to some of the pay TV giants, comparing premium products to a free to air service is perhaps missing the point. Freesat’s site wears its subscription-less heart on its sleeve, proudly declaring that its service costs ‘£0 a month’. 

That said, the presence of Netflix on certain Freesat-branded devices indicates that while the basic service is free, there’s an appetite amongst buyer to dabble in paid on demand services from time to time. 

Alistair Thom, Freesat’s managing director, said: “The most recent quarter’s figures highlight the growing appetite for subscription-free connected TV. 

“We invest in developing market-leading technology and delivering quality content to provide an unbeatable connected-TV experience, at no monthly fee. We offer over 200 subscription-free channels and popular On Demand players, more than any other free-to-air provider, which continues to attract customers.”

A recently-announced partnership with RTÉ will see the launch of Saorview Connect in Ireland later this year. Like Freetime, this promises Irish viewers a blend of linear and catch-up TV content all delivered through one box and one interface. 

While the launch of Netflix on Freesat has helped drive interest, it’s currently unclear if Freesat’s in talks with the likes of Amazon, Sky and the TalkTalk-owned Blinkbox regarding more on-demand players coming to the table. 

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