Freeview, Britain’s new digital terrestrial platform scheduled for launch this fall, should provide extra channels for commercial broadcasters, argues ISBA (the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers). Twenty-four free-to-air TV channels are planned, although only ten have so far been named [WAMN: 05-Jul-02], plus interactive services and digital radio.

The assignment of additional channels is currently under review by commercial TV regulator, the Independent Television Commission, which last July reallocated the three digital franchises (formerly held by bankrupt ITV Digital) to a not-for-profit consortium comprising the BBC, BSkyB and US transmission specialist Crown Castle Communications.

Says ISBA: “Naturally, advertisers are keen that commercial channels are well represented on the platform, especially given that an expanded BBC, offering several new digital channels, threatens to dominate it.” Channel 4 and ITV in particular are lobbying the ITC for more channels to be made available.

But Freeview maintains that at the outset it will be able to offer better broadcast quality with fewer channels – although the presence of Crown in the consortium infers that priority will be given to remedying the signal reception problems reported when the platform was operated by ITV Digital.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff