A+E Networks® to launch BLAZE™ on Freeview
A+E Networks® UK will launch Blaze™ on Freeview in the UK and Ireland on 20 September 2016, further solidifying the company’s bold ambitions to operate in both pay and free-to-air markets around the world.
Blaze is a new entertainment brand from global media company A+E Networks and the first global free-to-air brand, slated initially for the UK. Blaze will be carried on the Freeview platform (Channel 83) and on Sky, with ad sales managed by Sky Media.
Blaze will simultaneously launch as a TV Everywhere (TVE) service, offering live streaming and catch up viewing on mobile and tablet for both iOS and Android.
For the first time, Blaze will bring together a host of A+E’s well-known and successful franchises under a new brand that celebrates extraordinary, determined and courageous characters. Much of the content will be new and exclusive to the UK free-to-air platform.
At launch, Blaze will offer Freeview viewers episodes of popular series such as Pawn Stars, Mountain Men and American Restoration, as well as fascinating crime series The First 48 and Unusual Suspects.
Dean Possenniskie, Managing Director, EMEA, A+E Networks, said: “Our new entertainment brand is a great addition to A+E Networks’ portfolio and reflects our strength as a global media powerhouse. Blaze is a big step in our overall growth trajectory and we are extremely bullish in launching this new brand as our first free-to-air channel in the UK.”
Heather Jones, UK General Manager at A+E Networks, said: “We are excited about Blaze, and thrilled to offer free-to-air audiences the chance to enjoy many of A+E’s hit shows, with much of the content new to Freeview. Blaze's name and identity were created to evoke and celebrate the spirit of the extraordinary characters and lives featured on the channel. We are excited that Blaze will also include a digital launch as a full TVE service, so viewers can watch and catch up with their favourite shows whenever they want and wherever they are.”
Blaze launches at 15:00hrs on 20 September, and will broadcast 24 hours a day. It will be available to the 19 million UK homes on the Freeview platform*, as well as to 12.4 million Sky subscribers across the UK and Ireland.
Guy North, Managing Director at Freeview, added: “We’re delighted to be bolstering our channel line up with Blaze. The new channel will provide even more choice for our viewers who want to enjoy the very best entertainment without paying a monthly subscription.”
Blaze is A+E Networks International’s second free-to-air (FTA) channel launch in 2016, further demonstrating the company’s ability to operate hybrid pay-tv and FTA channels in key markets. The global media company rolled out Lifetime® as a FTA channel in Turkey to 20 million homes in April.
In the UK, A+E Networks channel portfolio currently includes HISTORY®, Lifetime, Crime + Investigation® and H2®, available on Pay TV platforms Sky, Virgin, BT and TalkTalk.