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Free TV networks to launch streaming app

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Australia's free-to-air television networks are uniting to launch a new streaming app, bringing their content to mobile devices under one umbrella.

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The new streaming app, Freeview FV, will offer all the major free-to-air channels live to mobile devices across Australia at the touch of one button, which Freeview says is a world-first.

It will offer more than 15 free-to-air channels and include catch-up content from the free-to-air networks.

Freeview chief executive Liz Ross says the service will be easy to use and provide “fantastic choice and convenience”.

“From live streaming news and current affairs during the morning commute to catching up on a favourite TV program on the way home, Freeview FV will completely revolutionise access to the free-to-air TV offering in Australia,” Ross said.

Freeview FV will include a browse and search feature, a free-to-air TV guide and recommendations.

The new app – which was first flagged in March – is on top of the catch-up apps and some live streaming already offered by the individual commercial channels.

The move comes amid a shake-up of paid streaming services in Australia.

News emerged last week that Netflix rival Presto would close at the end of January after Seven West Media agreed to sell its 50 per cent stake in the streaming service to co-owner Foxtel.

Pay-TV giant Foxtel, itself a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Telstra, has agreed to buy the stake and will transfer subscribers to its Foxtel Play on-demand service.

Neither Foxtel nor Seven West gave reasons for the move but Presto, which launched in March 2014, has faced stiff competition from the likes of US giant Netflix and Stan, a local joint venture by Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment.

Roy Morgan Research released in June said Presto lagged a distant third in Australia’s on-demand market, with 142,000 subscribers to Stan’s 332,000 and 1.878 million for clear market leader Netflix.

– with AAP

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