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Freeview warns of a threat to free TV viewing as research reveals a desire to maintain free to view channels

Freeview has discovered that nine in 10 of Brits believe subscription-free TV should be preserved for future generations.

According to the broadcast platform, 90 per cent of the 2,066 adults polled by YouGov for the online research, felt that free channels should be free for everyone, including those who pay for TV services such as Sky and Virgin Media.

The research was conducted as Freeview claims there is a threat to the free television viewing, with Ilse Howling, managing director of Freeview stating that free TV was valued in the UK as “a national treasure.”

Howling continued: “In times of austerity, people are making frugal decisions about their spending, but even those who choose to pay for TV strongly believe it’s a citizen’s right to have universal access to free television.

“More than being a valued British asset however, we believe universal access to good quality free TV is a basic right in a functioning democracy. Even since the rise of the internet, TV is one of the main ways in which people gain information – in fact around half of those surveyed online say that TV helps them learn things (49 per cent), or stay connected with the world (46 per cent). Many people are still not online – particularly older people and those in rural communities – and web news outlets are increasingly being put behind paywalls; TV is a key source of news and information and should therefore not be underestimated.

“This is why, as the debate over the future use of spectrum gets underway, it is vital that a comprehensive free TV offering is maintained and that citizens have the choice to access it; without this, the very notion of our democracy is at risk of being compromised.”

Also discovered was a higher desire for continued free access to radio, at 92 per cent.

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