U.K. Start-Up VuTV to Stream Select TV Channels for Monthly Fee

The bundled channels, including Comedy Central, MTV, CNN and Cartoon Network, will be offered for $11.35 a month to the country's 20 million plus Freeview homes.

LONDON – The U.K.'s 20 million-plus Freeview TV homes will be offered VuTV, a start-up service that offers TV channels for a monthly subscription fee, including networks from Viacom's stable of channels, A+E Networks and Turner Broadcasting.

Subscribers will be given access to a premium range of channels, including Comedy Central, MTV, CNN, Lifetime, History, H2, Crime & Investigation Network, Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr., Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Cartoonito for what is billed as a "great value monthly subscription" of $11.35 (£6.99).

VuTV gives viewers access to the channels via their existing Freeview HD Internet-connected TV or box – with no long-term contracts.

Netflix, the monthly subscription VOD streaming service, is currently priced in the U.K. at $9.73 (£5.99) and is free for the first month. Amazon.com's LoveFilm is also a streaming video option for consumers in the U.K.

But VuTV  is seen though as providing more competition for pay TV providers, such as BSkyB and cable firm Virgin Media, by offering select channels at a lower monthly price.

In the U.S., some cable operators have offered cheaper packages of select networks to serve cost-conscious consumers. They have said these offers haven't been broadly adopted though.

Bakori Davis, vp commercial, A+E Networks UK, said: "We are delighted to see the launch of another multi-channel platform in the U.K. that offers more viewers a chance to enjoy the great content on our portfolio of channels, including Lifetime, our newest entertainment brand which launched this month."

Arran Tindall, svp commercial and content distribution, Viacom International Media Networks, U.K., Australia, Russia and Eastern Europe, said Viacom aims to make its content and channel brands "available on whichever platform our audience wants to access them," so it’s great news that Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon will, for the first time, now be accessible via broadband connected digital terrestrial TV in the U.K.

"The VuTV service is an easy, affordable way for suitable Freeview households to sample some of the very best channels that subscription TV in the U.K. has to offer," Tindall said.

Anthony Lukom, managing director and vp general manager, Turner Broadcasting, U.K. said: "We demonstrate an ongoing commitment to be where our audiences are, and ensure multiple ways for them to engage with our channels and content."

There are now over 20 million Freeview homes, making Freeview the biggest digital TV platform in the U.K.

VuTV is aimed at Freeview HD internet-connected homes that currently do not have a pay TV package.

Samsung is the first major manufacturer to provide full support for VuTV in their Freeview HD products, with others to follow soon.

VuTV director David Cutts said: "We have been working with manufacturers from across the industry for some years, both to establish the specification for these TVs and to build the system to use them."

December highlights on VuTV include Witches of East End (Lifetime), Beauty School Cop Outs (MTV), Sam & Cat (Nickelodeon), SpongeBob SquarePants (Nicktoons), Dora the Explorer (Nick Jr), South Park (Comedy Central), and Fred Dinenage - Murder Casebook (CI).