IBC 2014: Tivůsat, Freesat, Fransat form FreeTV Alliance
| 13 September 2014
Three leading European free-to-view satellite operators — Fransat, Freesat and Tivůsat — have created a new partnership designed to create commonalities in free-to-view satellite TV services across Europe.

The new FreeTV Alliance has a stated primary purpose of benefiting viewers, manufacturers, broadcasters, retailers and service providers by producing common service approaches, open source specifications and established preferred technologies that work across all products in all markets. The alliance believes that as technologies advance so do viewer expectations and that slicker user experiences and sophisticated functions are no longer the territory of pay-TV operators alone. To that end it will develop technologies and services in order to assist broadcasters and content providers to deploy advanced hybrid TV services combining satellite reception and IP-based interactivity.

The initial FreeTV Alliance’s management committee is made up of the chief executives and managing directors of each of the founding member companies, namely Fransat CEO Jean-Luc Deroudilhe, Freesat MD Emma Scott and Tivůsat CEO,Alberto Sigismondi. Commenting on the launch of the Alliance at IBC 2014, Sigismondi, said: “Until now, the major free-to-view satellite TV operators have focused on building a business within their national boundaries. As the TV and consumer electronics industries become increasingly globalised, now is the right time for us to work together to ensure free-to view satellite remains at the forefront of the television market, making it easier for manufacturers, retailers and service providers to meet the ever increasing viewer needs.”

The alliance’s senior management also confirmed that it would take on projects on a case by case basis. For example while they all agreed that 4K was on each of the companies’ radars and that there was already research work in the pipeline, there were no immediate plans to launch 4K services.

The alliance was intended to begin with four members but Germany’s HD PLUS pulled out just before the project was unveiled. Explaining why the company had made this decision, a spokesman said: “Unfortunately due to completely unrelated matters, HD PLUS is not able to join the FreeTV Alliance at this moment in time. However HD PLUS and SES have always been fully supportive and interested in developing the ecosystem and have a track record of working with industry partners on open standards and systems. We welcome any FTA TV operators' initiatives and wish the alliance a successful launch and believe they will fulfil an important industry role. We also look forward to joining in due course."