BT Vision has signaled ambitious plans to develop its IPTV platform in the run up to the launch of YouView in mid-2011. Following the launch of Sky Sports during the summer, the BBC iPlayer will finally make its debut on the network next month as the telco moves towards what it describes as Vision 2.0.
BT Vision’s core asset, its VOD service, continues to gain traction with an additional 10% added to “average subscription views” on the quarter. The company is looking ahead both to the launch of YouView and the introduction of multicasting of SD and HD linear channels over its network.
The telco reported 50,000 subscribers had taken the offer of Sky Sports 1 and 2, following the placing of the wholesale must offer on BSkyB, and its launch in August.
However, net TV additions continue to be a problem, just 24,000 added in the third quarter, taking the IPTV venture to 520,000 homes as of September 30, 2010.
“TV is largely all upside for us and we believe with some of the investments we’re making and some of the products we’re launching next year will begin to leverage some of our competitive advantage with bandwidth, interactivity and not having this legacy space that both Sky and Virgin have of people paying £30 a month for TV services that you can get much more cost effectively through Freeview and next year through YouView,” said Gavin Patterson, chief executive BT Retail. “What we see with sports is that there are a group of customers that want it, but it isn’t going to be the thing that differentiates us in the long term. It’s just a very important part of the offer, a point of parity in truth, but where we differentiate ourselves will be on demand content, interactive services, and bringing the best of the internet into a TV world”.
Yesterday, BT announced the introduction of 3D movies on demand and the company is also planning to launch BBC iPlayer using technology supplied by PushButton.
A phased release beginning in December will see the full BBC catch-up service available across the BT footprint by next April. The iPlayer will ultimately replace the 50 hours of BBC content available through BT’s TV Replay.