Q&A with Freesat

We chat exclusively with Matthew Huntington, CTO at Freesat

Matthew Huntington

1. For our readers who aren’t aware, can you provide an overview of the projects FREESAT are involved with?

Freesat is currently involved in a number of development projects, including with Irish broadcaster RTÉ. Freesat is supporting the development of its Saorview connected TV service and will deliver an Irish version of the UK Freesat service that has been modified to support DTT in Ireland. For that, we are providing the user interface, backend metadata, a management platform and operations solution and editorial support for a curated recommendations service.

We also have a roadmap to continuously improve the Freesat service in the UK. Our focus is on how to better integrate on demand content with broadcast linear TV. Once deployed in the UK, that technology would then be made available to our international customers.

The third major project that we’re working on is the development of a real-time census-based audience measurement process that we’re doing in partnership with TVbeat, which is already generating some exciting results and insight.


2. What are the things that excite you about the evolving Connected TV market?

I’m particularly excited to see how measurement and monitoring techniques are developing. If we can better understand what viewers are watching and how they discover content, we can use that insight to enhance and improve our product and content offering.


3. What do you think the future of Smart TV / OTT Content / video on demand looks like?

For the foreseeable future, TV will still have broadcast linear TV at its heart. In our view the future of TV is not going to be based in application stores with thousands of apps, but with curated experiences that offer a managed choice to viewers.


4. What are FREESAT’s goals for 2016?

Freesat’s goals include plans to launch a new range of set-top boxes into the UK, support the launch of the Soarview Connect service with RTÉ, win a number of new international customers with our Metaphor proposition and continue to improve our UK-based service.


5. In a world where everyone is moving into everyone else’s space, businesses are having to redefine their offerings to remain competitive in the short and long term. How are FREESAT meeting this challenge?

We are providing a managed service with a unique quality, we’re using ourselves in the UK market so we know how it works! That makes us stand out from the competition of providers. We’re a lean and nimble business and our solutions match to that and the needs of the wider industry.


6. How many years have FREESAT been attending TV connect?

Members of the Freesat team have always attended TV Connect, but this is our first year showcasing our international service and we think it’s a perfect venue to do that.


7. What are FREESAT presenting at this year’s TV Connect event?

I will be delivering a presentation called “Real time application monitoring for enhanced consumer insight”.

At the Freesat stand we will be demonstrating Metaphor, a service based on Freesat’s years of experience of operating a successful hybrid TV service in the UK. The service is available to terrestrial, satellite and cable operators looking to integrate broadband on-demand services into their existing linear broadcast offering. The solution combines user experiences that are colourful, striking, clean and simple to use with a state-of-the-art cloud-based service management platform. The solution can be provided exactly as it is, or it can be tailored to fit specific operator requirements.


8. Why it’s important that you’re attending this year’s event?

TV Connect is ideally placed geographically and within the year to reach the key targets we have for developing our international business


9.  What are your forecasts / predictions for the rest of 2016 in the connected TV space?

While the user behavior will continue to change, demanding more flexibility over where, when and how they watch television, more of the industry will become aware that this rate of change is not a great as some have predicted, and that we need connected TV solutions that are based around broadcast linear TV.


10. What are you looking forward to seeing at TV Connect at the Excel Centre in London this month (April 26th – 28th)?

Freesat is aware that it can’t do everything itself to provide world leading solutions and I’m looking forward to meeting potential partners with innovative propositions that I’m completely unaware of.



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