Freeview adds a plus

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By Richard Stevenson
Freeview is set to change the brand name of its integrated digital recording products to Freeview+. Currently marketed under the name Freeview Playback, the products use built-in hard disc recording linked to the Freeview electronic programming guide to offer one-touch recording, and pause/rewind of live TV.

Trading on the success of Sky’s Sky+ service and Virgin Media’s V+ proposition, Freeview MD Ilse Howling told a packed reception at the recent Intellect Conference that that the rebranding was a natural step considering the success and greater consumer awareness of other integrated recording services using the ‘+’ branding. Over the coming months the Freeview+ name will roll out across retail and packaging, marking the start of Freeview’s increased marketing efforts to drive awareness and sales of PVR equipment.
Unlike the Sky+ proposition, Freeview+ will cover a range of products including basic Freeview+ boxes, DVD recorders, DVD/VHS combi recorders and TVs with Freeview+ built-in. Brands competing in these sectors include Humax, Goodmans, Sony, Sharp and LG with more likely to follow suit with UK-specific Freeview+ products. Freeview’s director of marketing Rob Farmer commented: “Freeview+ is the next chapter in our story as the champions of free digital TV in the UK.”
With over 750,000 Freeview Playback boxes installed in UK homes, Freeview PVR penetration is around twice that of Sky+ at the same point in its development – largely due to its subscription-free status. Sales have been growing at over 75% year-on-year, and sources at Freeview admit this has been with very little marketing support. With the rebranding and a concerted marketing push into the season ahead, Freeview+ is set to be a major volume category in the run up to Christmas.

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