Freesat - The Freesat Board

The Freesat Board

Bal Samra, Chairman

Bal Samra

Bal Samra has been the BBC’s Commercial Director since September 2012. In his role, Bal leads all Commercial, Rights & Business Affairs teams across the BBC in TV, Radio and Online. His responsibilities include the development of Intellectual Property (IP) policy for the BBC, developing rights arrangements, managing business relationships and deal-making with all on-screen and on-air artists, contributors, writers, musicians, production companies, US studios, and distributors of BBC content.

During his career at the BBC Bal has played various leadership roles on a number of consumer-facing launches, including BBC Online, Radio 5 Live, BBC Three, BBC iPlayer and BBC Store. Prior to joining the BBC, Bal worked at GEC and Unilever in Commercial and Finance roles.


Magnus Brooke, Director

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Magnus Brooke is director of policy and regulatory affairs at ITV plc with overall responsibility for ITV’s policy and regulatory strategy and its interaction with UK and European regulators, government and the European institutions. Magnus is a director of a number of ITV group and joint venture businesses as well as a non-executive director of Digital UK, Freesat and the Broadcast Advertising Board of Finance (which raises the funds for the self regulation of broadcast advertising by the ASA).

Prior to joining ITV in July 2006 he was head of the BBC director general’s office for three years, first for Greg Dyke and subsequently for Mark Thompson. Before that, Magnus worked for three years as a regulatory and competition lawyer in the policy and legal division of the BBC.

Magnus began his career as a solicitor specialising in regulatory and competition law at city solicitors Ashursts where he also trained. Magnus read Social and Political Sciences and History at St Catharine’s College Cambridge and qualified as a solicitor at the College of Law in London.


Tom Ansell, Director

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Tom Ansell is Controller of Platforms at ITV, with responsibility for managing ITV’s investments in free-to-air TV platforms, which include Freeview and YouView as well as Freesat.  He is also a non-executive director of Freeview.

Before joining ITV, Tom held strategy roles at both Channel 5 and BBC Worldwide.  He started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he qualified as a chartered accountant. 


Alistair Thom, Managing Director

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Alistair leads Freesat as Managing Director, overseeing the continued successful growth and innovation of the TV service. He has overall P&L responsibility for the strategic development as well as the day-to-day operations of Freesat and leads a multi-disciplinary team, which works across the broadcasting, retail and technology sectors.

Before joining Freesat in 2012, Alistair worked as a management consultant for KPMG where he advised FTSE listed organisations on a wide range of issues; primarily focusing on developing and implementing strategies to improve business performance.

Alistair started his career at BSkyB where he gained his accountancy qualification on their graduate programme.