UKTV to make Freeview channels available on demand

UKTV, the joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks, has announced a new video on demand service featuring content from its three Freeview channels Yesterday, Really and Dave. The broadcaster has begun beta testing the service.

According to a report in this week's Broadcast journal, the video on demand players will be funded through advertising and will enable viewers to catch up on programmes that have been commissioned by UKTV, such as Dave's Argumental programme, as well as certain imported acquisitions such as Really's Bridezillas.

BBC Worldwide content such as Top Gear and Mock the Week, both shown on Dave, will be "considered" for addition on the VoD platform on a case-by-case basis. BBC Worldwide already has made some content available on different platforms.

The announcement marks a further multiplatform push for UKTV. As reported here last month, UKTV announced a deal that would make its premium channels available to BT Vision customers, the first time linear pay TV services to be added to BT's IPTV service. Meanwhile, video on demand services showing content from UKTV's pay channels are to be distributed via individual platform operators.

UKTV video on demand platform to boost YouView's backward Freeview EPG?
Although the UKTV video on demand service will be available on regular PCs and laptops, it will potentially receive a greater audience watching catch up TV on TVs connected to the internet via a new application of the Freeview EPG:

The Digital TV Group (DTG) recently added a backward EPG for Freeview to its D-book specifications manual for manufacturers of Freeview compatible equipment. A backward EPG allows viewers to see the past seven days TV programmes in addition to being able to go forward seven days.

This facility will allow viewers with Connected TVs to browse the previous seven days in the EPG, and pick out programmes to be watched via the relevant broadcaster's on demand portal (subject to availability). For example, a viewer could use the EPG to go back to BBC One last Saturday, and select "The Voice" and be connected to BBC iPlayer to view the programme.

In the same way, the forthcoming UKTV video on demand service will potentially add to the catch up platforms offered by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, meaning that more programmes can be picked up and watched via the backward EPG.

YouView, the forthcoming Freeview/IPTV hybrid service, which is scheduled to go live later this year, is thought to be the first service to use the backward EPG and integrated catch up TV from the major broadcasters, and will thus be given a boost by being able to offer catch up content from three more Freeview channels.

More reading:
Subscription. UKTV chief exec Darren Childs speaks to Broadcast.

UKTV channels to air on BT Vision IPTV service.

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