FreeviewPlus launched in 2014 with the hope of uniting the catch-up TV services from all Australian broadcasters in one place which it’s done, but without question the world has moved on in just that short time so today’s news from Freeview puts a focus on mobile and on innovation.

Freeview today announced the free-to-air TV networks are working together on a new FreeviewPlus mobile live-streaming product and in the same breath announced a new Chairman.

After seven years in the role, Kim Dalton steps down as Chairman, replaced by one of the brightest minds in commercial media – Clive Dickens.  Dickens is the Chief Digital Officer at Seven West media overseeing all the Yahoo7 and 7 Network online innovations.  Before that he was at Southern Cross Austereo in Australia and Absolute Radio in the UK.

It was at Absolute where Dickens introduced targeted advertising in radio streaming based on logged-in user profiles as well as a host of new digital content.

His appointment as Chair at Freeview is a clear sign that Innovation and the online world are to be at the core of future Freeview products.

Remember, Freeview is the body that set up certification of set-top boxes – those same certified boxes being the ones that are today capable of receiving the MPEG-4 channels such as 7Flix or 9HD and 10HD.  While many saw it as an EPG service, it was in fact this certification program that has led to the most benefits for consumers.


FreeviewPlus is currently a HbbTV service, meaning its available to people with ultra modern TVs that are connected to the internet.  While the rate of purchase for those TVs may see that number hitting close to one million, it’s unlikely the usage rates are anything like that. It is however just another platform where the networks must play if they are going to keep hitting the eyeballs of Australian consumers.

A “FreeviewPlus App” on mobile devices has great potential – almost first-in-the-world potential to unite networks to provide live and catch-up content to consumers through a single App.

Imagine an app that allowed you to just flick through channels like you do now on your TV – except they are the streaming channels via the internet.

Imagine an app that allows you to find any content, any show, any clip from any network – in just one app.  This is good stuff.

The proof however will be in the pudding.  Can Clive Dickens unite the networks to bring the best in class product that is required to compete with Netflix, Stan, Presto and others in the market?

I for one hope he can – it would be a killer app.


Declaration: Trevor Long is an employee of SBS (for the next three days anyway!)