U.K. Freesat TV Venture to Offer Paid-For Content

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The satellite TV venture of the BBC and ITV is launching a VOD service called Free Time.

LONDON - Freesat, the U.K. satellite TV joint venture of the BBC and commercial broadcaster ITV, said Tuesday that it will launch a VOD service called Free Time and is looking to add paid-for film, TV and music content offers from partners yet to be announced.

Netflix, Amazon.com's LoveFilm, Vevo and BSkyB's Now TV are possible partners for those offers.

On-demand TV programming via the BBC iPlayer and the ITV Player is coming to the service and will be followed by on-demand content from Channel 4 and Channel 5. Users will be able to scroll through the electronic programming guide to watch past shows up to eight days after they aired.

The service will be available via a new set top box, which will cost £279 ($443) and be available later this month.

"TV is a simple pleasure that technology can make even better, not more complicated," said Emma Scott, managing director of Freesat. "We want to help viewers find something great to watch the minute they sit down, so they can spend less time searching and more time watching the TV they love."

Freesat was launched in 2008 as a free-to-air offer to rival pay TV giant BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owns a 39 percent stake. Freesat currently has signed 2.6 million customers.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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