The last year has been a tough time for free to air TV. Even Freeview, the peak body representing the FTA channels, says viewing habits have “changed dramatically” — everyone is using their phones instead. Netflix and Stan and catch-up apps from every major digital TV channel means that you don’t need to watch TV, unless you’re dead-set on watching The Bachelor live and in real time. To that end, within a month Freeview will do its bit to speed that push away from the big screen and onto mobiles with a single unified app that streams all 15 major FTA channels to your phone.
Freeview FV\, as it’s called, will take the best and most useful parts — live streaming and catch-up — from the apps of major digital free to air channels, like ABC’s iView and Channel Nine’s 9Now and put it in one place for viewers to access without having to install multiple apps and juggle different accounts for each. Freeview says it’s the world’s first app of its kind where an entire industry has united to, y’know, make things easier for consumers.
We understand the FV app will launch simultaneously on both Android and iOS, but the big thing that’s made this happen for the TV networks to agree is that the app will measure and report viewer numbers to OzTAM, the audience measurement metric that makes it possible for the stations to sell advertising.
One potential problem: there’s no word on Chromecast or AirPlay support, which would properly replace free to air digital TV for anyone with a half-decent internet connection. We’ll know more details closer to the Freeview FV app’s November launch date, but we do know that as well as live streaming from all the TV networks and direct access to their catch-up TV catalogues it’ll also have a unified search engine, a guide on what’s coming up, and recommendations for similar shows to the ones you’ve already seen.