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Freeview brings the fight to pay-TV

UK free-to-air DTT platform Freeview has unveiled a new marketing campaign that directly questions the value offered by pay-TV services in the country, at a time when 75% of viewing hours are spent watching free-to-air channels.

The Freeview team asserts that while UK households pay a seemingly small monthly fee for hundreds of TV channels as part of a bundle deal, this adds up to an average of GB£ 199 (US$ 303) being spent each year on unwatched pay-TV channels.

Basing their claims on figures from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), the new adverts – set to air tomorrow (Friday 22nd February) – add that Freeview provides over 95% of the most-watched programmes in the UK on a subscription-free basis.

Continuing the theme from earlier campaigns, red and white helium balloons are used to represent the depth of programming available on Freeview including ‘Masterchef’ and ‘The Apprentice’ as well as Big Brother and The Cube. During the ad, the red balloons break off to symbolise the large proportion of the UK’s most watched programmes.

The 30-second film, created by Leo Burnett, follows the balloons on their journey around a city – from high-rise flats and cafes to the parks and family homes of the outskirts. Finally the balloons reach their destination at a house in the suburbs. As soon as they have floated through an open window, we hear a TV being flicked on from inside and see the welcoming glow of the screen behind the curtains of the house.

Guy North, Marketing Communications Director at Freeview, said: “As household budgets are increasingly stretched, we’re highlighting the alternative to pay-TV. Our latest campaign encourages consumers to question whether an expensive subscription package is really right for them if most of the content they watch is free-to-air.

“With the added benefit of recording programmes with Freeview+ and access to four HD channels with Freeview HD, Freeview is the smart choice for consumers who still want quality content at their fingertips but without the bill each month.”

Freeview is the undisputed king of digital TV in the UK, currently serving 19.3mn homes – far ahead of the 3mn homes served by rival free-to-air platform Freesat, which provides a wider choice of subscription-free programming to satellite dishes, and the 10.3mn homes served by pay-TV leader BSkyB.

The latest BARB figures have indicated that TV remains a resilient and hugely popular medium in the UK, and linear TV remains the “bedrock” of TV consumption: UK viewers currently watch an average of four hours of television per day, with on-demand adding a growing amount to the total.

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