Vodafone Joins The Fray

After EE's recent announcement that they are to launch a TV service, Vodafone has now announced an entry to the UK market. Both must be heartened by the relative success of TalkTalk, which has successfully carved a niche in the bottom end of the paid TV market.

But the UK TV market is becoming a very crowded and competitive place, with a considerable bottleneck in that one company, already in the market, provides most of the carriage. BT is the company most threatened by these new arrivals in the market, however they run much of the network that their services will need to operate on, particularly if they are to reach non unbundled exchanges.

EE has said that they will tackle the market by offering a better UI - which was met with hoots of derision by industry commentators. TalkTalk offers catch up and PVR functions at bare bone prices. So, what will Vodafone's play be ? Are the rumours that they might bid for ITV founded ? That would certainly give them the content base - including some football rights - that they require. After selling out to Verizon in the UK, and despite paybacks to shareholders, they still have a cash pile they could turn to.

This would probably all be good news for the viewer apart from two factors: all these companies are targeting a segment of the market - users with good existing broadband provision, and will most likely bid up the value of premium rights such as football and first release movies. So it just means that there is one more player with deep pockets mining the same thin vein of gold.

Television used to be called 'a licence to print money', now it's fast becoming a way of digging a deep hole and pouring money down it.