Reports indicate that Disney's FTA channel will launch in the UK
on the Freeview digital platform. Disney already has a branded pay
TV service in the UK. The as yet unnamed new channel will go on
air later on in the year.
Freeview is marketed by DTV Services. It is run by its three shareholders
- the BBC, Crown Castle International and BSkyB. Disney already
has a stake in several European broadcasters such as RTL in Germany
and GM TV in the UK.
The Hollywood Reporter indicates that in the UK Freeview carries
channels like as BBC 1, 2, 3 and 4; Sky Sports News; ITV News; Sky
Travel; Sky News; U.K. History and other top branded services. Subscription
is in the region of two million, but analysts expect that number
to grow considerably in the coming years.
Freeview service provides 30 free digital TV and radio channels
in addition to interactive services. It is broadcast from transmitters
and received via a rooftop antenna.
The new Freeview deal places Disney as an existing, locally owned
digital service while still giving ownership rights to Disney. Although
foreign ownership rules will be relaxed soon in the UK outside companies
are expected to demonstrate commitment to local programming.
A Reuters report further informs that Disney also sells content
to other British broadcasters. It signed a deal with the BBC earlier
this week for the exclusive terrestrial rights to more than 100
films, including Chicago and Pirates of the Caribbean.