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Freeview claims 50% of FreeviewPlus TVs are connected to web but refuses to give numbers

Freeview is claiming more than half of the FreeviewPlus enabled TVs sold have been connected to the internet, but refused to say how many units have actually been sold.

The Freeview Plus screen with its Red and Green buttons.

The Freeview Plus screen with its Red and Green buttons.

The claim comes days after one of TV’s most powerful executives Peter Wiltshire declared that internet-TV service Freeview Plus had a “very long road ahead” and estimating that just one per cent of homes had bothered to connect their web enabled TVs.

Liz Ross CEO of free-to-air industry body Freeview, told Mumbrella they were not yet ready to release the numbers but acknowledged: “We appreciate that the market is waiting for us to talk about HbbTV numbers and our connection rate.”

Ross

Ross

At the launch of FreeviewPlus last year Ross said they were aiming for 10 per cent penetration in its first year, but acknowledged earlier this year that it had failed to hit that target noting take up had been “slower than expected”.

Asked about the numbers today, Ross declined to get into specifics arguing: “What is exciting is that the connection is at least 50 per cent and it may be even higher.

“At this stage we can see how many new receivers are receiving our red and green buttons and suffice it to say we are very, very happy with the numbers in the market overall.”

Ross was also reluctant to be drawn on Wiltshire’s comments to the National Radio Conference on Friday but noted: “It has been very difficult in the market for anyone to know how many (IPTV) receivers are connected.

“The only official data is the Nielsen multiscreen report which talks about how many “web enabled TVs” are in the market, but what it doesn’t do is say how many of them are connected.”

Asked if better data was needed on IPTV connection she responded: “Yes it is.

“The good news is that when we are ready to publish data about the numbers of receivers we will be able to talk about the numbers and the connection rate.”

Ross declined to give a timeframe saying: “it is something we will resolve shortly”.

FreeviewPlus now has 10 manufacturers producing HbbTV enabled TVs with the likes of Sony, LG, Samsung, Hisense, Changhong, Hitachi and Bauhn on board and with a personal video recorder also available for those not wanting to change TV.

“The important thing is if you look across all those major TV manufacturers the average now is that 94 per cent certified,” she said. “We will get to a stage where the Freeview Plus enabled TV in a retail store are very prevalent.”

Peter Wiltshire

Wiltshire

In a direct contradiction of Wiltshire’s remarks, that the big challenge for TV was getting the right technology in the hands of the consumer, who needed to both understand what they are buying and also understand how to connect/use it, Ross noted that they were close to a situation where consumers would invariably walk away with a HbbTV.

“Consumers will buy a new TV with FreeviewPlus, whether or not they were motivated by HbbTV they will likely take one home,” she said. “If they then plug it into the internet then bang they will receive the FreeviewPlus product.”

Freeview has also had a marketing campaign in market featuring the stars of many of the TV networks.

The body has also pitched its creative account, although this pitch has yet to be resolved.

On the question of whether she thought consumer awareness was high enough Ross responded that: “we track the metrics on awareness and knowledge of Freeview Plus it is growing.

“What is gratifying is when we have campaigns on-air we have a huge increase to our website for inquiries and see usage of HbbTV climb as well every time we are on TV.”

Nic Christensen 

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