The companies which manage the Freeview and Freesat platforms are to merge, creating a single entity to oversee the UK’s subscription-free TV services.
The announcement was made by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 which, with transmission firm Arqiva, jointly own Digital UK which facilitates the provision of Freeview services. Freesat is a joint venture between the BBC and ITV.
Arqiva recently announced it is stepping down as a shareholder with effect from next month.
The three broadcasters say the integration of Digital UK and Freesat “will help ensure viewers continue to have access to a range of free-to-view TV services in the UK as well as benefit from technological innovations and developments across the two services.”
Jonathan Thompson, CEO at Digital UK, said: “We welcome this opportunity to work more closely with Freesat whilst continuing to deliver our mission of ensuring everyone in the UK can access a high quality TV service for free.
“The combined entity will promote the very best of free-to-view content whilst reflecting the changing nature of consumer consumption.”
Alistair Thom, CEO of Freesat, added: “We believe that building on the best that both Freesat and DUK have to offer will ensure that free to air continues to be an exciting and vibrant proposition for UK consumers.
“This proposition will continue to provide UK viewers with great content however they choose to consume it, whether that is linear or on demand.”
The integration is conditional on receipt of merger control and regulatory approvals, and, subject to those approvals, is expected to close in a few months.