Home Entertainment BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5-Backed Free U.K. Streaming Service Freely Launches...

BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5-Backed Free U.K. Streaming Service Freely Launches – Global Bulletin

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FREE STREAMING

Freely, the new free streaming service backed by Britain’s public service broadcasters (PSBs) that delivers live TV over broadband, has launched. The initiative is from Everyone TV, the organization which runs free TV in the U.K. and is jointly owned by the BBCITVChannel 4 and Paramount Global’s Channel 5. Announced last year, the service allows viewers to browse and watch live TV channels together with on-demand content streamed to their smart TV via the internet. Freely will be built-in to the next generation of smart TVs and features a lineup of public service broadcaster content and other free-to-air channels.

Content from STV and S4C, free-to-air public service broadcasters for Scotland and Wales respectively, is also available on Freely. Hisense, previously announced as the first Freely smart TV partner, brings Freely TVs to market today. TiVo will be offering Freely as part of its TiVo OS platform.

Kieran Clifton, director, BBC distribution and business development, said: “The launch of Freely is a historic moment for U.K. television. Collaboration between the U.K. PSBs is critical to connecting and protecting all audiences as we transition towards the streaming era – and delivering live TV over broadband for free is a ground-breaking innovation that will futureproof public service broadcasting.”

SCRIPTING SUCCESS

South Africa-based film development organization Realness Institute and Swiss social change storytelling outfit the StoryBoard Collective have opened submissions for the third iteration of screenwriters’ development program AuthenticA Series Lab, designed for African screenwriters.

Four screenwriters will be selected for the program which will be conducted both online and in-person. The lab culminates in their attendance at Series Mania in March 2025, at Lille, France, where they will pitch their projects. The writers retain the rights to their projects. Development veterans Selina Ukwuoma and Mehret Mandefro will mentor the cohort.

BINGEWORTHY

Warner Bros. Discovery’s Discovery+ is now available to stream on Indian streaming aggregator Tata Play Binge, which now has more than 30 local and international apps on the service. Locally popular titles on Discovery+ include “90 Day Fiance,” “Man vs Wild,” “Top Gear,” “#IndiaMyWay,” “Blue Planet,” “Secrets of the Koh-i-noor” and “India’s Ultimate Warrior.”

“Bringing Discovery+ to Tata Play Binge represents a huge step forward in expanding our content offerings. The partners’ colossal lineup does not only showcase a myriad collection of genres but also promises entertainment in multiple local languages. This collaboration opens doors to an extensive range of riveting narratives, ensuring our viewers have access to the best of what Discovery+ has to offer, all in one place,” said Pallavi Puri, Tata Play’s chief commercial and content officer.

Ruchir Jain, head of distribution and Eurosport, South Asia, Warner Bros. Discovery, added: “With our extensive library of exclusive documentaries, captivating series, and engaging originals, including acclaimed titles such as ‘Secrets of the Buddha Relics,’ ‘History Hunter,’ and ‘Star vs Food: Survival,’ we are dedicated to delivering unparalleled entertainment experiences to Indian households.”

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Meanwhile, streamer MGM+ has become the 23rd channel to launch on Prime Video Channels in India. Prime members can purchase an annual add-on subscription to MGM+ at a price of INR599 ($7.15) per year. Titles available at launch include “Legally Blonde,” “Hercules,” “The Prodigy,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Robocop.”

BAFTA

BAFTA have unveiled 69 recipients of over £125,000 in grants to help kickstart their careers. 58 of the recipients, who hail from underprivileged socio-economic across the U.K. were beneficiaries of the Prince William BAFTA Bursaries. They include production assistants, costumer designers, writers and game designers. The remaining 11, comprised of journalists, editors, directors and videographers, were recipients of a £30,000 bursary fund launched in collab with the Refugee Journalism Project.

“Supporting the next generation of talent is an essential part of our mission,” says BAFTA CEO Jane Millichip. “The bursaries are transformative for career starters”