Thursday, December 09, 2010

You Don't View

In a recent discussion with YouView I was shocked at the lack of ambition shown by the initiative, considering how much time and money has been spent on the project already. It seems that I am not the only one with a management shake-up announced yesterday and a survey by content advisers Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates indicating a great deal of apathy for the service.

Of course, the initiative (or do we now call it a 'company' ?) is caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand the larger manufacturers are implementing their own television strategies - and companies like Samsung are making serious inroads with their excellent product range, and on the other is Sky and Virgin.

To ask a major manufacturer to adopt a British standard when they have to sell kit in 120 countries was always an ask, especially when they did not own and control the software.

There is little doubt that Canvas/YouTube has taken IPTV and OTT forward in the consciousness of the British content industry, but it does not address the fact that we are moving to a world where channels and schedules will gradually become obsolete amongst a new generation of users, where the main screen will be reserved for video and related activity will take place on the second screen, where content owners will have much more say in the commercialisation of their output and will be able to market it directly to the consumer via a new generation of platforms.

YouView, I suspect, will turn out to be an important stepping stone in the evolution of TV in this country, but will have minimal impact globally and will gradually morph into another carrier service, to be rolled up with Freesat/Freeview.