Has Youview Missed the Boat?

written by: Richard Kastelein

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With recent news that Youview is looking to 2012 as their launch year, could this mean that the ambitious project, funded to the tune of £115m — backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, TalkTalk, BT, Talk Talk and Arqiva, and rejected by Sky, Virgin Media, IP Vision, Six TV, United For Local Television and the Open Source Consortium — is becoming irrelevant?

New Media Age Magazine thinks so, according to a recent cover story:

Experts believe that in failing to launch sooner, YouView will hand advantage to competing services. By 2012 it will be entering a market saturated with connected devices, including TVs, games consoles and other IPTV services offering catch-up TV.

"For the likes of BT and TalkTalk, YouView can't be a silver bullet to reignite their pay-TV propositions," he said, referring to the initial plan. Not only do they need to differentiate themselves from Sky but also convince the pay-TV "refuseniks" who are used to watching iPlayer on connected devices for free, said Cryan.

"Free services and Sky are bloody difficult competitors," he added.

Others suggest it's not the pay-TV platforms that pose the biggest threat to YouView's take-up, but web-connected TVs and games consoles, such as the PS3 and Xbox.

The delay is likely partly behind the BBC's recent move to slow down the rollout of the iPlayer on Connected TVs and other devices - as an iPlayer saturated Connected TV space will take a lot of zing out of any launch of Youview in 2012. The BBC noted that it was cost prohibitive to rollout the iPlayer on so many platforms... which is a bit ridiculous as it's my estimage that 85 per cent of the architecture - HTML 5 - makes up the backbone of an iPlayer app that merely needs a 15 per cent tweeking to fit a variety of connected devices. Never mind Youview having blown £115 million trying to build a proprietary system that they could have had for 'free' if they had just joined up with the Europeans and the HbbTV Open Source movement.

More from NMA:

Nigel Walley, MD of consultancy Decipher, said YouView must focus its efforts on becoming an exemplar platform for broadcaster channels.

"It has missed the window to be the dominant force in the market," he said. "Now it needs to grasp the opportunity to be an influential force."

One of the ways in which it could do so is by demonstrating how a platform like YouView can aid broadcaster brands, he said. This could involve creating specific areas that each broadcaster can editorialise themselves.

Viewers would also be less likely to be confused by the service because they'd be entering familiar-branded areas, he added.

"YouView should be a subtle framework and allow the channel brands to bubble to the top," he said.




About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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