YouTube is to launch on free-to-air satellite TV service Freesat as it continues to position itself as a platform for premium, broadcast-quality content.
The Google-owned video-sharing platform will launch its latest iteration of YouTube on Freesat in March, built in HTML 5, designed to provide a “TV-optimised” viewing experience via Freesat’s set-top box.
YouTube is already available on Virgin Media’s TiVo service and various smart TVs but this deal marks the first time it has been offered officially on a subscription-free UK TV platform.
Viewers will be able to access YouTube via the Freesat programme guide and can navigate the site using their smartphones.
Via Freesat, a service backed by the BBC and ITV, people will be able to access YouTube’s user-generated content along with its 60 original content channels launched last year.
BBC Worldwide is among its original content channel partners and revealed its second original content channel - HeadSqueeze - on the platform last month. It is now on the lookout for sponsorship partners.
Emma Scott, Freesat’s managing director said the company is “delighted” to bring YouTube to the service. “They [YouTube] join Freesat at a time of rapid growth for our business and will offer our viewers an exclusive, first view of their latest version – previously unseen on free to air TV in the UK she said.”
Peter Sherman, product marketing manager for YouTube said: "We’re happy to be working with Freesat so that Freesat users can now access YouTube from the platform. Our creator community is developing quality content that will delight and inspire viewers and we’re pleased to be able to bring it to people in new ways.”
The news comes as Freesat announces it has sold three million of its products since its launch in 2008, taking total gross retail sales to over £1 billion. The satellite TV service, which is backed by the BBC and ITV, launched in 2008 as an alternative to pay TV offering a subscription-free service via a set-top box. It added 55,000 new households in the third quarter of 2012.