UK industry body techUK is launching a campaign for the protection of viewer access to free-to-view content without additional costs.
The new campaign is in response to Digital UK’s plans to charge device manufacturers a per device levy for the integration of Freeview Play technology into TV and STB products.
“We welcome the planned introduction of the Freeview Play service as we move towards a new generation of TV user experience and content consumption,” explains Paul Hide, Director of Operations for techUK. “We are however, very concerned that the introduction of this service comes at a significant cost to hardware device manufacturers who are already investing in considerable R&D effort to develop new products to meet the Freeview Play requirements. This product levy is an additional cost that will ultimately be passed onto the consumer. The viewer has already paid a TV licence fee to access these services and this undermines both the concept of free to view television and the founding principles on which Digital UK was created.”
“We welcome TechUK’s support for Freeview Play and its shared belief in a strong free-to-air TV service available to all,” a spokesperson for Digital UK responded today. “Freeview Play has been designed to bring free terrestrial TV into the connected age and our member organisations are making a significant five-year investment in the development of the platform to make the best of broadcast and on-demand content available to everyone for a one-off cost, without subscription. As part of this manufacturers who choose to offer the service are asked to contribute a modest amount to help meet the development and ongoing costs of operating the new platform. This includes access to catch-up players from the main broadcasters and testing materials, alongside Freeview’s marketing support. This approach is not unusual across the industry.”
How manufacturers absorb this cost, the statement concludes, “which does not apply to other Freeview products, is an individual matter for them.”