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Freesat downplays Netflix deal

The UK’s Freesat has dismissed as “speculation” a report that it has teamed up with Netflix, and denied it will launch a partnership with the US video rental firm at a press event tomorrow.

The BBC-ITV joint-venture, set up in 2008 to rival pay-provider Sky, is due to unveil its “next generation free satellite platform for the UK” at a London press briefing tomorrow morning.

A spokesman for the firm said he could not confirm or deny a deal with Netflix was in the works, but that any such deal was not the purpose of the press launch.

“Freesat are planning to offer optional pay services in the future and are talking to a number of different service providers – as we have been for some time. We will announce launches only when confirmed and will not speculate until that time,” the company said in a statement.

A spokesman for Netflix added that a deal with Freesat had not been confirmed and no announcement was imminent.

He was responding to a report from the Daily Telegraph this morning, claiming that the new Freesat box will give users direct access to Netflix and other on-demand services.

The firm added the free ITV Player catch-up service to its platform last July, having already launched the BBC iPlayer.

The latest developments come after next generation Freeview digital terrestrial service YouView launched in July following a string of delays. The service offers linear TV and internet-powered services. Sky has already added its Now TV subscription service to the platform while Scottish broadcaster STV has added catch-up, with UKTV due to follow suit.

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