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All 7 UK Partners Agree to Fund YouView’s Broadband IPTV for 5 Years

Friday, March 28th, 2014 (9:26 am) - Score 967
youview_watching_tv_iptv

The future of YouView’s broadband based TV (IPTV) platform, which has recently come under pressure from a similar Freeview Connect proposal, has been given a boost today after the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva, as equal shareholders, all agreed a guarantee of funding for “at least” the next 5 years.

So far around 1 million homes have installed one of YouView’s set-top-boxes but nearly all of those have come from boxes bundled by commercial broadband ISPs like BT and TalkTalk, although it’s often forgotten that some smaller ISPs (e.g. JT and KC) also offer a YouView based TV service.

Recent reports have suggested that some of YouView’s Joint Venture partners, specifically the big TV broadcasters, weren’t especially happy with this and instead wanted the platform to branch out and open up via a “multi-device strategy” (here). Other reports have indicated that the BBC intended to cut back its funding, although in fairness this would be normal following the end of any major launch and R&D phase.

Since then we’ve also learnt that a platform called Freeview Connect has been mooted by the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Digital UK, which appears intended to act as a more open and multi-platform alternative to YouView. Needless to say that the prospect of another online solution for Freeview TV channels has left many to question the future of YouView, which was due to see its original partnership agreement expire at the end of March 2014. The good news is that it’s now safe.. at least for another 5 years.

Richard Halton, CEO of YouView, said:

“We are delighted that all seven shareholders have committed to the future of YouView with a 5 year term. We have achieved a significant milestone with well over 1 million homes regularly using the service and high levels of usage and satisfaction as key indicators of success for the future. The next phase for YouView involves ambitious developments across a range of devices and we’re looking forward to achieving our long term target of 10 million connected UK homes.”

It’s interesting to note Holton’s comment regarding “ambitious developments across a range of devices“, which could suggest that the broadcasters plan for a multi-device strategy might yet work within YouView’s mould. But it could also be a reference to more solutions like YouView’s free app for iOS and Android devices, which offers a TV guide and the option to remote record TV programmes.

Apparently further content provider additions and app updates are planned for 2014, as well as regular software updates being pushed to the set-top box, but today’s update doesn’t reveal anything more than that. Perhaps one day they’ll get around to adding wifi connectivity as well, which is what rival devices with similar Internet-capabilities have been doing for a while and at much lower prices.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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