Stakeholders the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have completed the process of merging Digital UK and Freesat, the bodies responsible for the UK’s free-to-view digital-terrestrial and digital satellite TV platforms.
Digital UK has acquired Freesat from its two shareholders, the BBC and ITV, following the transaction being cleared by the relevant authorities and regulators. The process of bringing together the operations of the two businesses will be implemented over the coming months.
The trio said the bringing together of the two bodies would help ensure viewers continue to have access to a range of high quality, free-to-view TV services in the UK and benefit from a more streamlined approach to technological innovation and product development.
Jonathan Thompson, Digital UK’s current CEO, will lead the combined entity, while Alistair Thom will be departing his role at CEO of Freesat.
Thompson said: “I’m delighted to be heading up the new entity and am very much looking forward to leading the development of free-to-view TV in the UK over the coming years. Freeview and Freesat are both major success stories for the UK’s TV industry and wider society, enabling the public policy goals that underpin public service broadcasting, allowing access to high quality TV for free, for all.”
Thom said: “I depart with a real sense of achievement for the Freesat I leave behind. It was my absolute pleasure to lead the transformation of the business, putting it on the path of consistent revenue growth through becoming vertically integrated, developing a direct-to-consumer proposition and establishing relationships with the biggest global SVOD players and Consumer Electronics businesses. I’m excited about what Freesat can bring to Digital UK and everything that a joined up free-to-view platform ecosystem can deliver for UK consumers.”