Former BT Vision boss Dan Marks has given a candid assessment of the perceived failings of the IPTV platform. Speaking at the SeaChange International Summit in New York, Marks said that in a converged market it was difficult to assess who is first and who is second. “As a telco BT are first in the market in providing a telephony service and it’s sky that is playing catch up.
“When we started in the UK, BT was hampered by competition all of which was on the side of telephony, because no one wanted BT to get the same dominance in content. Marks said it was a regulatory mistake that none of the burden was on Sky, something that BT along with Virgin Media, Top Up TV and Setanta was able to move over time.
Marks explained the original philosophy of BT Vision was to start with a large amount of subscribers and a familiar trusted brand rather than secure content. “It turned out we underestimated peoples’ willingness to move and under estimated the value of high return long term subscription relationships … and that became a problem against the commodity.”
One of Marks’ last projects at BT was to work on the hybrid project YouView, which he described as a reaction to the realisation that closed platforms would no longer succeed. “It’s fundamentally open and I think that will be the first of a new wave of such platforms and is an unstoppable force.”
Since leaving BT, Marks spent a year-long tenure at ProSiebenSat.1 and is in the process of launching a new media and investment company.
Four years after launch BT Vision had 545,000 subscribers as at December 2010.