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UPD TalkTalk UK Unveil Free TV Service and Falls to 4.047m Broadband Subs

Thursday, Jul 26th, 2012 (8:04 am) - Score 962

Budget ISP TalkTalk has today announced the launch of its new “FREE” TV service, which is based off the YouView (IPTV) platform and will be offered at no additional monthly cost to the providers existing ‘Plus‘ broadband and phone customers. But there’s a catch.

According to the ISP, Plus customers will apparently receive a free YouView set-top-box (normally £299), access to all YouView content (e.g. 74 Freeview TV channels and video-on-demand services [iPlayer etc.]), the TalkTalkPlayer (the ISPs own video-on-demand solution) and all the usual Plus bundle bits and bobs (12 months free subscription to LOVEFiLM Instant, unlimited anytime calls and unlimited data usage etc.). Plus costs £14.50 per month (and from £9.50 per month line rental).

Customers can also expect access to “flexible premium content“, although at present this only appears to centre around a commercial agreement with BSkyB to offer all Sky Sports channels (including Live Formula 1), Sky Movies and Sky Basic channels on a “flexible, monthly basis“. For example, the Sky Sports Boost costs a whopping £30 extra per month, while Sky Movies is a more respectable £15 extra (subject to a 30 day minimum term).

Unfortunately anybody who opts for “the UK’s best value triple play” TV service will require a new contract, with existing customers being forced onto an ugly 24 month term and new ones being able to use an 18 month option. On top of that there’s a £50 engineer installation fee mentioned in the small print and subscribers will need a reasonable broadband speed in order to benefit (we’re trying to find out what this is).

Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk, said:

It has been an encouraging start to the year. We continue to improve customer service and this has been reflected in a further reduction in complaints and churn. We returned to customer growth in June, despite longer lead times on connections, and our base of fully unbundled customers grew by 10% year on year in the quarter.

This is a great base from which to launch our groundbreaking, free, TV service. TalkTalk Plus customers will, from today, be able to pre-register for their free YouView set top box with no additional monthly subscription. This compelling offer is the UK’s best value triple play package. It will give our customers more reasons to stay with us for longer and attract new broadband customers. It will also deliver significant value for shareholders. This is TalkTalk at its disruptive best.”

TalkTalk hopes that the incremental cost of acquiring new triple-play customers (this works out as £140) will deliver “positive EBITDA over lifetime of contract. Thereafter, we expect TV to reduce churn materially, expand our broadband market share, grow ARPU, and drive incremental value“. But it might need to do more than re-hash Sky’s content for that.

Meanwhile today’s Interim Management Statement (IMS) also reveals that their total broadband subscriber base appears to have declined again and fallen from 4,066,000 in calendar Q1-2012 to 4,047,000 now (-19,000). The ISP claims to have seen positive net adds in June 2012 but this was apparently off-set by a fall in the other two months of Q2-2012. Interestingly this is actually a steeper decline than the -13,000 lost in Q1-2012.

Pre-registration for the new TV service is now open, although a firm live date isn’t mentioned.

UPDATE 9:00am

TalkTalk informs us that its TV service is available to all Plus customers who have access to line speeds of 3Mbps (Megabits per second) or more.

Furthermore TalkTalk expects to launch its TV product for their Essentials customers next year and will eventually (TBA) also allow home users to install the service themselves instead of having to pay a £50 engineers fee.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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