Freesat unveils new advertising campaign to promote connected TV service Freetime

Freesat, the subscription-free satellite TV service jointly owned by BBC and ITV, has launched a new advertising campaign to promote the great features of its award-winning Freetime service. The campaign will debut on ITV and digital platforms on Monday 20th October and runs throughout November and December.

The new advertising campaign features Sheldon, a snail who regularly misses his favourite shows including, Coronation Street, because life often gets in his way and he never makes it to the TV in time. The good news is that Sheldon can now use Freesat’s Smart TV Guide, Freetime, to start watching when he wants. The advert ends with the line ‘Freetime. TV in your own time.’

The advert is the first to be created by a hub of in-house and external resources including TellyJuice, a creative video agency, Freesat’s own creative marketing team and Framestore, the Oscar-winning UK special effects agency who created the CGI scenes in the advert, including Sheldon the snail himself. Framestore won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for its work on the Hollywood blockbuster Gravity.

Freetime is Freesat’s popular connected TV service which allows viewers to roll back the TV guide across the last seven days, pause, record and rewind live programmes and have immediate access to the nation’s most popular On Demand players. Since its launch in October 2012 Freetime has consistently delivered strong growth and now accounts for 48% of all Freesat set-top-box sales, with sales of Freetime boxes having more than tripled year-on-year. As well as Freetime set-top-boxes from Humax, the service is also available on Panasonic televisions.

Paul Gilshan, Freesat’s Director of Marketing & Communications, said:

This new campaign is typical of Freesat, it’s fun and very different – a snail who just loves Coronation Street. We’re proud that Sheldon could help us demonstrate to viewers all the great benefits of our connected TV service, Freetime. Like Sheldon, viewers are able to enjoy a service that lets you watch TV in your own time, and being subscription-free it is a great alternative to more expensive pay-TV services. For our in-house marketing team, it was both satisfying and cost effective to take control of the production process and work alongside TellyJuice and Framestore to develop something truly unique and original.

Dave Toomer, TellyJuice’s Director, commented:

TellyJuice love Sheldon, not just because he is cute, but also because of the creative process and the time we spent developing him with Freesat and Framestore. Together we have delivered an imaginative, cohesive campaign that highlights the benefits of Freetime.

Title: ‘TV in your own time’
Client: Freesat – Paul Gilshan, Director of Marketing, Jennifer Elworthy, Head of Marketing
Video Agency: TellyJuice, Dave Toomer
Producer: Sacha Evans
Head of Design: David Skinner
Creative team: Adam Cutts/ Peter Humphries
Director: David Skinner
Post Production: Framestore
Post Production Producer: James Alexander
Director of Photography: Oliver Schofield
Editing House: TellyJuice
Audio: Silk Sound
Audio Engineer: Lee Willis

You can watch the advert here:

24 thoughts on “Freesat unveils new advertising campaign to promote connected TV service Freetime”

  1. I think Freesat has a much harder task to make consumers aware that Freeview and Freesat are different. Even the BBC announcement of extending programme availability on iPlayer from 7 to 30 days made no reference to Freesat/FreeTime but did include YouView, Sky and Virgin Media.

    AFIK – All new TVs come with Freeview tuners (some with HD) but few come with Freesat (mine does).

    The broadband and TV packages from BT and TalkTalk are Freeview based mainly using a YouView box.

    I cannot see any compelling reason to buy a Freetime box rather than YouView and as neither offer a simple form of backup facility (USB is input only on both) why get either. My newly acquired Roku Streaming Stick gives me BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and 5 catchup in HD plus access to too many internet TV channels.

  2. I have this on my Panasonic but it’s nowhere near as fast as I think it should be. That said it’s an interface much the same as Youview and on that basis I’m wondering whether to get a Humax recorder or wait for the touted Manhattan one.

  3. I’ve got a youview box and it’s the slowest thing ever. Huawei is the make as supplied by talktalk. Also the UI is not a patch on Freesat Freetime.

  4. Freesat desperately needs greater awareness because most people can’t distinguish it from “Freesat from Sky”. This advert can only help.
    However, I don’t think it would convince me to spend hard earned money just to watch Coronation Street at my convenience. Every new TV can receive Coronation Street while a £10 Now TV box will provide all the catch Up TV services you need, wirelessly too! With Christmas approaching and budgets stretched, I think Freesat should have emphasised the no subscriptions message more.

  5. Freesat does need to get some pay on-demand services on board. Curzon is nice but niche. What about Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV/Sky and BlinkBox. Surely one of those is up for the challenge?

  6. nice ad but Admin any news on release dates for either any of the Freetime boxes manufactured by either Vestell or Manhattan?

  7. I watched the ad, think it will spark a bit of amusing thinking and shows better creativity than some previous ad campaigns, goes live Monday night.

  8. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Freesat the choice for snails that like Coronation Street. Not exactly the most dynamic advertising campaign ever. Once again a missed opportunity to sell the breadth of channels on Freesat compared to Freeview. With advertising like this Freesat will continue to grow at a snail’s pace at best.

  9. It’s ok but think freeview seem to get there adverts on tv better for some reason not sure if they have more money ?

    And with only 67 days till Christmas will freesat do there usual Christmas surprise ? .. Like netflix ?

  10. Good advert with some humour to make it memorable.

    2 criticisms though:

    1. The shot of the menu on the TV is too short to allow you to take it in

    – Personally I’d take the 3rd example of Sheldon never quite making it out ie the one AFTER the frost, with him in the rain alone, ie the section at 10 to 11 secs, ( as the leaf in the face and the frost are sufficient examples of him failing to make it), and then go to showing his disappointment at the window, and then add that extra second saved there onto the tv menu view to allow users to get a better look at the TV menu before the cut to the tablet.

    I’d make an example but don’t want to breach copyright.

    2. There should be a separate advertising campaign that shows the channels Freesat has. One of the strengths of Freeview that goes unchallenged is their balloons campaign that puts the favourite channels in people’s faces. People outside of the existing user base don’t really know what’s on Freesat.

    Freesat needs to be slogan’ed something like “everything on Freeview, but more”.

    (some issue there I guess with with Dave etc) so maybe it would have to be

    “Freeview, plus more”.

    They could then advertise the advantages as points and examples “of the more”.

    eg Better quality (?), More reliability (if provable vs DTT), X% Faster Catchup player etc

    Just my 2 cents.

  11. As a regular user of Freetime I’ve got one criticism of this advert that those who are unfamiliar with it may question – Why does it show a tablet being used to access Freetime? Why isn’t the viewer using a standard remote control?
    The advert gives the impression that a tablet is needed for using Freetime which is definitely not the case. It may lead some to make the wrong assumption.

  12. Aww I missed sheldon advert anyone know what time he was on lol
    Looking forward to it 🙂

    Sheldon is our new tv fan ….

  13. I won’t buy another Freesat product until it’s truely established itself. I bought 4 freesat receivers, none are upgradable, so waste of money, iPlayer only.
    This issue doesn’t happen with pay tv, you can upgrade your equipment for free usually. I also find the pay TV equipment more robust, as the technology usually has one standard everything must run to, (how the pay TV provider says)
    I thought under Freesat this was going to happen, but they’ve not enforced a streamline standard go manufacturers, leading to many boxes not being up to the job. I went to BT TV, and they’re Youview box is excellent. Since true and CBS are now available on YouView, I rarely turn on the sat receiver these days.

  14. MCMLXXIII said:
    I have this on my Panasonic but it’s nowhere near as fast as I think it should be. That said it’s an interface much the same as Youview and on that basis I’m wondering whether to get a Humax recorder or wait for the touted Manhattan one.

    I would go Humax, as from experience I think Manhattan are crap. For what it,s worth Freesat has it,s use and it has more channels than Freeview but in my mind they are all +1 channels & host of shopping channels.

  15. Freeview/Youview does seem to have a better range of channels with higher quality content. Freesat does have more channels but they carry low quality or old content. I can not think of a must have channel on Freesat not on Freeview, BUT can think of must have channels on Freeview not on Freesat.

    Freesat’s the best choice if your in an area with poor access to the full range of Freeview channels.

  16. Freesat does now have a streamlined standard … it’s called Freetime with one manufacture and basically one model for the last few years!

  17. The only issue I see with Freesat Kate is that it did have extra decent channels over Freeview, but now those channels have also joined Freeview leaving Freesat with less overall taking into account the ones on Freeview that aren’t on Freesat.

    It seems to me that under recent management, Freesat added only tech ie apps and a few minor channels, not decent channels (at least to my memory and my opinion of decent).

    The New Chief Exec needs to:

    1. Get some more HD channels on Freesat

    2. Should be pushing for some 4K when the service starts on Sky to keep Freesat up there with the cutting edge

    3. Needs to get the EPG sorted as I’ve suggested many more times before – get channels sorted according to broadcast type AND transmission quality as well as popularity thus giving smaller channels the incentive to go HD and to higher bit rates to climb the epg in position and getting the HD / SD / 4K Channels all grouped together

    4. Needs to get some sport on Freesat – Extreme to me is the obvious channels given that CBS are already on Freesat – and here’s a thought, you could offer incentives to attract Sport channels to join Freesat eg why not offer Sport a position towards the top of the epg just below the main 5 channels thus giving greater incentive and advertising revenue possibilities? Why not offer someone like CBS a boost to it’s other channels positions as well as a further incentive if it adds a Extreme?

    Yes some of the above would require changes to the rules, but that’s the job of the chief exec – he needs to get the BBC Trust to make the rule changes necessary to take Freesat forwards. The current EPG rules are short sighted and too restrictive.

    I still think the EPG should be looking something like 101-110 (8K), 111-120 (4K), 121-140 (HD), 140 onwards SD.

    Worked something out before and can’t remember it now but it was simialr to above. My point is if you work the channels out correctly, then you can keep most channels numerically similar to what they are now so eg. BBC One HD = 121, BBC 2 HD = 122, ITV HD = 123, CH4 HD = 124, CH5 HD (if it joined, reserved if not) = 125, BBC 3 HD = 126 etc in the HD and in the SD, BBC One SD = 141, BBC 2 SD 142 etc.

    Keeps the numbers logical and allows the other channels to then sit in below the main broadcasters keeping similar numbers to now unless they manage and EPG climb by going HD, increasing quality etc.

  18. I looked up what “Extreme” was and there doesn’t seem to be any connection between CBS and Extreme?

    I may be wrong but Ofcom’s EPG rules prohibit buying your way to a more prominent position other than by exchange of positions with a current incumbent. The BBC Trust can’t change these laws?

  19. Hi Kate,

    My understanding is that Extreme is owned by the CBS group.

    Yes you are quite right, to my belief, the current rules do prohibit channels being given an epg position based on anything other than popularity.

    I believe that Freesat is governed by rules set by the BBC Trust under the authority of the Government, although there may also be OFCOM rules governing the same.

    It would require a change in the rules to enable channels to be offered a slot on the basis of other criteria.

    I was not proposing that channels could buy their way to the top though, in any way, shape or form.

    What I was proposing instead though was Freesat could be permitted to offer incentives in the form of a higher epg position to channels who go 8k / 4k / HD / higher quality and be rewarded with a place to reflect their increased value to the viewer.

    That doesn’t mean a low position channel could eg go HD and find itself above eg BBC 1. What it means is that it could by virtue of the fact that channels were grouped in descending blocks of 8k / 4k/ hd/ sd, climb the epg from say an SD block to a HD block by virtue of going HD and that would then put it above all of the SD channels. Within the HD block, the channel order would still be sorted by popularity UNLESS a channel also went higher quality in transmission terms ie higher bit rate, in which case it could gain a position below the main broadcasters (ie BBC, ITV, 4, 5), but above any other channel at a lower bit rate and below any other channel with a higher bit rate, if that makes sense.

    So every broadcaster would have the incentive to go higher quality and larger format.

    That would potentially result in more higher resolution channels coming to Freesat and higher quality broadcasts as broadcasters vied for position in the epg.

    The problem with the current set up is there’s no incentive. A higher quality channel or larger format ie HD over SD, simply costs a broadcaster more money to transmit but their EPG position remains the same so they make no more money in advertising. So its actually better in many cases for the broadcaster to simply broadcast SD at lower quality to keep the overheads as low as posible.

    By allowing the broadcasters to effectively climb the epg by increasing format or quality, there becomes an incentive to do this as a higher epg position potentially brings in more advertising revenue.

    At least that’s my idea / understanding of how it could work.

  20. I probably should have said as well above that maybe there should be a dedicated religion, shopping, adult section as there is effectively now below the mainstream SD channels to prevent minority channels that might not be suitable for a wide audience going high quality and ending up at the top of the epg just below the main channels. Not quite sure what you’d call such a section – special interest???

    I mean there’d be no issue with certain special interest channels getting higher up the epg eg a dedicated Radio Control Model Channel or Synchronised Swimming Channel etc (if such channels existed ((trying to think of minority examples)), wouldn’t be a problem but things such as sex, religion, betting and online shopping aren’t really suitable for a wide audience for obvious reasons and need to be excluded.

  21. Al (Original) said:

    My understanding is that Extreme is owned by the CBS group.

    I’ve rechecked Extreme is owned by AMC Networks and there’s no connection to CBS.

  22. I’m sure I once had an email from someone at Extreme saying they owned CBS. Maybe I mis-remember.

    Looking on the Wiki, it does sound as though Liberty Media maybe once had a holding in CBS:

    “n April 2007, Liberty completed a purchase of Green Bay, Wisconsin, television station WFRV-TV, and satellite station WJMN-TV in Escanaba, Michigan, which serves the Marquette, Michigan, market. The deal was part of a swap of 7.59 million shares of common stock in CBS, the stations’ owner, that was held by Liberty Media; in exchange for the stock, CBS gave liberty the stations and $170 million in cash.[27] Liberty announced plans in April 2011 to sell WFRV and WJMN to Nexstar Broadcasting Group for $20 million;[28] the stations were the only over-the-air broadcast properties in Liberty’s portfolio.”

    I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the above though as it’s 3rd party and hearsay to me.

    Either way, it doesn’t really alter the principle that there could be ways of tempting channels to increase quality and broadcast format by offering incentives by simply re-ordering the epg in a way that’s more logical than at present ie sub grouping channels by type as well as popularity, and by changing some of the governing rules so that whilst channels cannot buy position, they can make gains through broadcast quality and screen format increases (albeit with an exception for Special Interest (?) Channels).

  23. Just so people know, If you live in Scotland you don’t get access to the ITV player and the STV player isn’t there either. This also means you can’t go back in time to watch something you missed. I have emailed Freesat numerous times and they say this is a Scottish TV issue. I have had my box over a year and it has still not come to pass. They really need to get their finger out! Great box otherwise, no tech issues!

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