From the start, the UK’s digital terrestrial TV service has been built on industry-wide collaboration. It was the coming together of public service broadcasters, commercial operators, manufacturers and retailers that made the launch and subsequent success of Freeview possible.
This same spirit of collaboration is part of Digital UK’s DNA and we pride ourselves on being a great partner to work with. Over time, our network has grown to become truly global, from major TV manufacturers to international content providers. We have grown too, evolving to meet the technical demands of developing Freeview into a fully hybrid platform and undertaking major projects such as the 700MHz Clearance Programme.
Though we remain a small company of around 50 people, our modest size means we can be agile in responding to the profound changes sweeping the television sector and our own ever-evolving role.
We’re also active in developing the Digital UK team. Through individual training and development plans, we look to help everyone who works at Digital UK to grow in their role and learn new skills. We also take part in the BBC’s apprenticeship scheme, regularly providing hands-on secondments to technical trainees. In our most recent company survey, staff scored our collaborative culture as the highest ranked factor in making Digital UK a good place to work.
The launch of Freeview Play, and the exciting strides it has made in the last 12 months, have served to expand and strengthen our network of partners. In particular, we’ve worked hard to develop closer working relationships with new and existing content providers as we continue to develop Freeview Play.
We continue to have a strong relationship with the DTG, which sets the standards for terrestrial broadcasting in the UK, and our role in developing the technical specifications for Freeview Play has seen us increasingly involved in supporting manufacturers as they bring of new products to market. We work closely with consumer electronics partners in the UK, Europe and Asia, and regularly host teams of engineers at our offices, assisting the development of new features and helping to test their latest products.
Alongside technology, communication remains a key focus, from engaging with policy makers and regulators to sharing news with industry about platform developments. As part of this work, we host industry events in which we bring together key players from the world of television to debate topical issues and to share ideas. In November 2017, we staged a morning conference for around 200 guests at BAFTA with speakers including Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of ITV, Kenton Allen, CEO of Big Talk Pictures and Adil Ray, writer and actor in shows including BBC One's Citizen Khan and Ackley Bridge on Channel 4.
As a small company we rely on fostering strong partnerships to achieve our goals. The 700MHz Clearance Programme is in many ways the perfect illustration of why this is important. Coordinating this major change programme means bringing together a broad range of organisations, from policy makers and regulators to the multiplex operators, channel providers and wider industry stakeholders. Our ability to align and coordinate these disparate groups in a shared endeavour is critical to the overall success of the programme.
Similarly, our role in launching Freeview Play as a new technology standard for UK television has spanned the worlds of international standards, software development, R&D, consumer electronics manufacturing and retail. We've enabled and supported innovation in each of these fields, creating commercial opportunities for companies large and small and in doing so enhanced consumer choice.
That same ethos underpins the new funding deal agreed by Digital UK's shareholders. It means we can continue to bring people and organisations together for the wider benefit of UK television. It's also a great example of how major players in broadcasting are increasingly collaborating to create new and exciting opportunities, not just for Digital UK but also our many industry partners. It's a boost to our ambitions to make Freeview even bigger and better and a potent reminder that the spirit of collaboration on which Freeview was founded is stronger than ever and serving the interests of UK viewers.