Freeview rebrands Playback recorders as Freeview Plus

Freeview is rebranding its Freeview Playback digital TV recorders as Freeview Plus in a bid to capilatise on the success of its rival Sky Plus. The Freeview Plus name will be rolled out across retail and packaging over the next few months.

The move is part of an increased marketing effort to drive awareness and sales of Freeview’s digital TV equipment. Marketing communications director Rob Farmer says: “We are now upping our efforts and since ‘Plus’ has entered the vernacular in recent years, we think it makes sense to reposition ourselves to take advantage of that.”

Sales of the recording boxes have been sluggish since launching in April 2007, with around 330,000 sold. However, the basic Freeview box is in more than 15 million homes and in March the company recorded “all-time high” sales for 2007 with 9.7 million branded products sold. More than a third of Sky’s 8.8 million subscribers have a Sky Plus box.

Freeview is owned by DTV Services, a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, BSkyB and National Grid Wireless. It offers free-to-air digital television, unlike the subscription services of Sky and Virgin Media, the cable operator whose own digital recorder is branded Virgin Plus. It also faces competition from Freesat, the subscription-free satellite service from the BBC and ITV.

Uptake of digital TV recorders is growing 76% year on year, according to figures from GfK, which Freeview hopes to accelerate further with the rebrand and marketing campaign. Analogue video recorders will be defunct following the switchover to digital, which is being rolled out regionally up to 2012.

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