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New AVOD W4Free launches in UK with Sky handling ad sales

W4Free has become the latest AVOD service to launch in the UK.

The free-to-view platform offers a “curated mix of short form lifestyle, crime, movies and tv series.”

The fledgling service will be boosted by the expertise of Sky, which will handle ad sales for the service. Sky however holds no stake in W4Free, and has not made any pledge to offer the service on its Sky Q platform at this point. 

Coming from Video Solutions AG, the service enters an increasingly crowded market that has been dominated by the likes of Pluto and Tubi, along with ad-supported streamers from native broadcasters Channel 4 and ITV. 

The group operates a range of AVOD and SVOD brands in Europe, with this new streamer effectively being the English iteration of German language streamer Watch4 – the service available in Germany, Switzerland and Austria with a reach of 10 million people per month. 

The company is chaired by Chris Sharp, a well-known figure in the industry for over 30 years. He previously founded Zone Media, which was sold to Liberty Global in 2005, and served as chief programming officer of Liberty-owned Chello Zone and AMC Networks UK. Sharp also served on the board of four joint venture channels from CBS Studios International and AMC Networks UK.

Video Solutions AG’s founder and CEO is Phillipp Rotermund, whose past includes launching a number of broadcast channels and VOD services.

Sharp said: “Launching W4Free.com marks an important step in Video Solutions expansion plans, we are fully committed to the free streaming space and believe the UK is a natural extension to our already successful watch4.com service that is available in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. We have a strong launch programme line from UK, USA, Australia and Canada.”

Bella Vuillermoz, director of advertising partners for Sky UK & ROI said: “As a new service to the UK, W4Free.com offers viewers a fresh destination to enjoy a wide range of content online. We’re pleased to be working with Chris and the team to offer advertisers increased opportunities in this important and growing on demand environment.”

Digital TV Europe has reached out to Sky over its further involvement with W4Free.