Freeview Play is the hybrid service that makes the best of broadcast DTT and on-demand TV available free for everyone in the UK. At the heart of the platform is Arqiva’s Metadata Delivery System.
In June 2014, Freeview and Digital UK announced their plans to develop Freeview Play, a new Freeview-branded hybrid service that would make the best of broadcast DTT and on-demand TV available free for everyone in the UK.
The two companies’ shareholders including the UK’s leading broadcasters the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are backing a five-year plan to support the development and marketing of the hybrid TV proposition.
Following a competitive selection process, Arqiva were awarded the contract to provide the metadata system at the heart of Freeview Play.
It was a vital part of the brief for Freeview and Digital UK to make the technology an open standard, which means content providers and manufacturers can skin the experience any way they like.
The project was kicked off under very tight delivery constraints. A collaborative approach between Digital UK, Arqiva, the consumer electronics manufacturers and content providers, ensured that parallel work streams were defined and progressed correctly to dovetail together for launch.
The open standard approach that was developed allows for a natural growth of the service’s content line-up over time. For content providers it allows syndication of a single app/player to a wide range of devices across a variety of manufacturers. For CE manufacturers, the adoption of pan-industry technical standards provides for scale production and the development of a core television proposition complements their wider on-demand offering (i.e. Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.). Furthermore the light touch product requirements enable manufacturers to differentiate their wider TV experiences and User Interfaces.
The new offer gives viewers easy access to both broadcast and on-demand TV, including a range of popular catch-up players and easy routes by which to discover content.
By complementing the UK’s most popular TV platform with a “connected” element, Freeview Play adds IP delivered services to the mix so that, within the EPG, viewers can scroll backwards through the last seven days of programming and select shows to watch streamed over the internet that they might have missed.
The platform provides an innovative commercial model that enables manufacturers to access a range of high quality on-demand players from leading Freeview broadcasters. In addition to the services evolution of the core free-to-air ethos, it allows the opportunity to provide paid-for service functionality within Content Provider apps/players when provided in parallel to free-to-view content.
The core Metadata Delivery System (MDS) was architected and developed by Arqiva to enable a progressive agile evolution, giving partners early access to core system functionality whilst supporting emerging requirements. While the architecture was started in mid-2014; it was developed to enable in-development and in-life evolution.
“We wanted to create an evolved platform for Freeview to take it into a connected age and this needed a technical foundation that could deliver that. Arqiva have played a vital role in bringing Freeview Play to life. Their innovative approach and understanding of not only this market, but of the audience expectations today, made them the ideal partner.”