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Broadband ISP TalkTalk Shut UK Digital TV Store – Customers Lose Purchases

Friday, Oct 20th, 2023 (1:38 pm) - Score 9,216
TalkTalk-Satellite-TV-Dish-Street-Art-

One of the problems with modern online UK content distribution platforms is that – unlike physical media (DVD, Blu-rays etc.), when they close, customers risk losing all of the content they purchased over them. Sadly, this appears to be what is about to happen to customers of TalkTalk’s TV Store, which is due to close on 31st October 2023.

The TalkTalk TV Store (formerly blinkbox) is a UK-based transactional (purchase and rental) video-on-demand (VoD) service that was originally available across multiple devices, although in recent years the provider has opted to focus more on their broadband and phone packages – leaving their current Pay TV options to look decidedly pedestrian.

NOTE: The TV Store hasn’t been available for new purchases since 2021, but existing customers were allowed to continue watching their purchased content, until now.

Nevertheless, customers were still both surprised and frustrated to be notified about the closure of TalkTalk’s TV Store (letters started going out last month), not least because many of them had purchased a significant number of movies and other TV content over the platform. But access to all of that will also cease at the end of this month.

TalkTalk’s Statement on TV Store and Owned Content

Over the past few years TV has changed, in how we all access and watch content. At TalkTalk we have been evolving our TV service to keep it up to date and offer access to great content, to give our customers the best possible TV service.

With TV content now available through a huge variety of players, apps, and streaming services, more traditional services, such as TV content stores or lockers, have become outdated. Many studios and channels have removed their content from them to concentrate on their own platforms.

As a result of these changes, the TalkTalk TV store will close on 31st October 2023, and you will not be able to access any of your content after this time.

We’ll be communicating directly with all customers who are adversely impacted by this change.

The public announcement made no mention of how TalkTalk intended to handle the thorny issue of compensation for those with owned content. As one of the Store’s customers, Hax75, said on their Community Forum (credits to Cordbusters): “I have 75 movies there – which is a reasonable number with quite a significant monetary value – let’s say £10/movie – most more than this, some less – so around £750. Are TalkTalk going to be issuing refunds to those who have purchased content through them? Or are they just going to keep the money and run?

Customers affected by the issue have found it difficult to get a good level of communication from the ISP, although the complainant above was eventually credited the sum of just £25 for the catalogue of content they previously held under the platform (i.e. valuing each title at somewhere around 33p). Good luck being able to re-purchase all of that content again, on a different platform, for anything even remotely close to £25.

According to TalkTalk’s letter to Hax75: “I understand this does not reflect the total cost of purchased content, however it has been calculated to reflect depreciation costs, and availability of content on other platforms, either for free or at a smaller cost than the initial purchase price when you initially purchased your content. This letter constitutes TalkTalk’s final position, and your complaint will now be closed.

The ISP recommends that those who disagree with their calculation for compensation should pursue their complaint via the independent ombudsman (CISAS). This is interesting because doing so is free for the customer, but it may cost TalkTalk itself hundreds of pounds in ADR fees (i.e. it might have been cheaper to just offer a fairer settlement).

In fairness, TalkTalk also has a tricky task in trying to value the content, particularly in such a complex market of subscription-based video streaming services. Speaking personally, the only movies I’ve purchased in recent years have been Blu-rays (precisely to avoid issues like this), although it’s much harder to buy physical media these days for other things like software applications and certain video games (e.g. I haven’t seen anybody selling PC games on physical media in a while).

We perhaps all need to pay more attention to the security of our content purchases and ask what policies platforms have in place should the worst happen, ideally before we purchase any content over them.

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Mark-Jackson
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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Comments
26 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Andy says:

    As has been said so many times in the past, this sort of thing is one of the reasons for piracy. Why pay out for something legal and then have it taken away from you.

    In the past, other firms have been able to come up with deals where customers purchases were transferred to another company so that their purchases were not lost.

    1. Avatar photo Iain says:

      It’s outrageous. Depreciation is an accounting construct, and absolutely does not reflect the real life value of what the users are losing.

  2. Avatar photo Barney says:

    TalkTalk’s response is rather like saying “I am sorry you feel that way”. Like a good ol’ Daily Mail reader, they are on my list now!

    1. Avatar photo Andy says:

      Perhaps it needs one of the papers to take this on. Money Mail or something similar

  3. Avatar photo Alex A says:

    Previously companies would partner with a more established VOD platform, like Amazon Video, and transfer ownership by sending over a voucher code.

    Then again this lines up with TalkTalk’s great potential but astounding ability to mess up the obvious.

    It’s a shame as their backhaul network is great, and when FTTP support was handled by business they were a recommendable ISP (for FTTP only), then they moved support for that overseas.

  4. Avatar photo Kevin says:

    The only way of dealing with this is providing a full refund and apologising to the customer.

    This is what happened to me with Google Stadia, they provided a full refund for games purchased when the service closed.
    They also went above and beyond to make sure game saves could be transferred, this is how you deal with an unfortunate situation.

    TalkTalk are coming across as absolute crooks.

    1. Avatar photo Mike says:

      I have no position but Google’s refunds is above and beyond because it is above and beyond not because it is standard.

      Also recent games and older movies are not the same. I agree somewhat with the reasons talktalk gave for lower than original prices but I disagree in that I believe a Independent ADR would give a higher amount and recommend all customers affected file ADR requests.

  5. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    Someone has already said it, and I will say it again. This is why piracy is so essential. We have DRM management meaning you own nothing and online purchases tied to particular stores. if that store goes down you lose access to your purchases. Even not just that, we have companies suddenly deeming things are offensive 20 years from creation and censoring it. I seen reports that the BBC was thinking of removing the “German’s” episode of Fawlty Towers as its offensive, but it was the funniest episode of the whole series. Super Best Friends episode of South Park has now been removed completely from everywhere as it had Mohammed as a super hero in there fighting David Blane. And all Disney cartoons from the 30s-70s are now censored.

    1. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

      Dam straight! I just got all the DC comics from 1939-2021 for free, I can now enjoy reading them on the Ipad at my leisure God Bless Piracy! (No legal way to buy them either before I am jumped on, if there was I would)

      Also a lot of stuff is censored like you say. I have all the original Now Music discs but a lot of the ones I stream keep having either the original songs re recorded which means they sound nothing like they should, OR random songs are put in because others are removed due to DRM etc. Spotify is one of the main buggers for doing that.

      I want my children to learn the same rhymes and see the same movies I grew up with. Not this PC woke nonsense.

    2. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

      Also the BBC can make “comedies” loose terms. called “Black ops’ about 2 black PCSO’s but no one says that’s offensive. Oh and after making a wonderful Happy Valley series the writer has gone woke and I have seen filming in Hebden Bridge for a tv show about 4 women who basically have the menopause!. I mean come on who wants to pay for them to make that crap!? Not me!

      I think when it comes to getting quality originals we are literally going back to 1994

  6. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    Not a shock, at least when the BBc closed their store they refunded the full amount spent.
    I would not buy anything like that unless it can be downloaded to my device and have no DRM.

    1. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

      I have got a few movies etc from Sky but they send you a digital copy and £20 for a digital copy and a streamable version was not a bad deal. I still keep a DVD player because I want to be able to play them again. That said I have not touched a DVD in a long time

  7. Avatar photo FredBlogs says:

    People really need wise up, things like this can always happen, same with hardware devices that rely on manufacture’s servers. How many bits of hardware are now useless to a lot of people because the servers been switched off?

    1. Avatar photo SomersetBob says:

      Van Moof bikes is a case in point. Can’t be unlocked as the servers have been closed.

  8. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    BBC Worldwide did the decent thing and refunded all the cost a customer had spent with them.

    Not sure how Talk Talk take depreciation into account as not an asset that depreciates – many media items have gone up in the physical format world and even on other online services. They market as “BUY” not “Rent”, so the expectation is that its there for a long time by a customer.

  9. Avatar photo TJ says:

    I suspect that TalkTalk thinks that it’ll still be cheaper to have a relatively small number of customers go to the effort of complaining to the ADR and then have to pay them proper compensation + ADR fees rather than refund all the customers they would otherwise need to refund.

    It’s a perfect example of why broadband companies should just do your broadband rather than jump on the bandwagon of bundling services that they are not fully committed to. When will this shambles of a company finally go away?

  10. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    Stuff like this is probably a fair reflection of it’s attitude towards its customers. Not a company I would wish to have any dealings with.

  11. Avatar photo Jonny says:

    I cannot see how the depreciation argument stands up at all. It’s a digital asset, it doesn’t wear out. I’d be very interested to see this play out in court – if TalkTalk have any sense they would settle any claims before they got to that point.

  12. Avatar photo MrMan says:

    I remember when this was BlinkBox from Tesco, and when Tesco was selling everything off it went to TalkTalk as BlinkBox from TalkTalk, and when TalkTalk decided to move it to TalkTalk TV Store luckily they let us migrate our content to Google Play movies

  13. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

    This is (I assume) why when you Buy and Keep it on Sky you get a physical copy too. Otherwise it’s just a digital rent no?

  14. Avatar photo Kelvin Evans says:

    I haven’t elected to make any such purchases from TalkTalk. But, somewhat stupidly, I have stayed with them despite endless troubles with their email hub; an abomination in itself.
    I opted to have my emails sync’d ever to a Google address, as it offers a much larger font and is less complicated and involved to use. But TalkTalk have now scuppered this by claiming My Tablet does not now have high enough security protocols and is out of date.
    I can log into my TalkTalk account o.k., but I cannot open my emails. Which are piling-up at that address, to the point where I have to delete them,as the crappy system seems to freeze up. I now have to send via Google. Unfortunately, I am still paying TalkTalk for landline and broadband; which they will no doubt scupper further, given time. But not for long. As I intend to go with another provider.
    Complaining to Often Is a waste of time. I have said it before, and I will say it again:” THEY are about as much use as Tit’s on a Boar;and in the pocket of the Government and such Businesses; rather than help the end consumer!” A big ” do – nothing ” attitude; caused by the industry collectively railroading us into going comlletely wi-fi; just the same as the Government trying to force electric cars down our throats. But that is another gripe on another issue; and, as a retired Vehicle Technician…..Oh, don’t get me started!

  15. Avatar photo Nick Roberts says:

    Since the change of protocol to DASH/HLS, BBC is effectively defaulting on service with internet radio users, in respect of all those who have older internet capable radios and can no longer receive mainstream BBC stations on their sets. Are they worried ? Are they fluff . . . in fact they’re now going after Volumio users (Hi-Fi buffs) to close down that particular avenue of escape.

    Commercial concerns and the desire to protect commercial interests for select benefit are now fragmenting the market for the new technology to such an extent that audience numbers no longer justify making the broadcast effort. Marvell as the middle-class bottom-piercings that control these media disappear, with their diminished income stream up their own fundaments in a puff of smoke.

    1. Avatar photo SomersetBob says:

      Let’s hope they don’t scrap OTA radio broadcasts or we’re all scuppered. As it is, as well as not being able to get BBC Radio on my various internet streamers, in the new year I will have to resort to Classic FM on FM :-), as my DAB Tuner is not DAB+ 🙁
      My workaround for my Tibo streamer is to connect my Echo Dot via Bluetooth and get Alexa to play radio 2 to it as a paired speaker and through my Hi-Fi. Sheesh!
      And they call it progress!

    2. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      Change of streaming protocol was to offer higher quality streams but cope with varying bandwidth that some users have. Your issue is with your radio manufacturer not updating firmware to support the change or being a model that is not upgradeable (by design). Roberts Radio updated my model to support it for example and this was quite a while ago this change happened….

  16. Avatar photo finaldest says:

    And this is why I buy physical media. Not only do I own it but it cannot be taken away, Unless my collection is damaged or stolen.

    no studio can just enter my home and revoke my movie licences with disks so there needs to be legal action against this practice of selling digital content for an “unspecified” amount of time. Its not ownership, its theft.

    Buy your movies on physical, Not only does it protect you but it also helps support the writers and actors who make them.

  17. Avatar photo Starlink sucks says:

    this is why you should buy blurays in 2023.
    they’re not going to come to your house and demand you give them back.

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