When TalkTalk and BT decided to join the YouView partnership both correctly identified it as a relatively low-cost route to a next generation set top box which would allow them to credibly compete with Sky and Virgin Media.
In the year or so since both ISPs launched their revamped TV services they’ve both added new live and on demand content while YouView has worked to enable internet channels to appear alongside aerial channels in the EPG and be recorded without the user having to note the differing channel types.
But while these additions have allowed both companies to compete with both the established pay TV providers and streaming services such as Lovefilm and Netflix, they don’t address the growing competition from services such as Blinkbox and Apple’s iTunes.
Earlier this week the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) announced that the digital download market – which includes iTunes downloads as well as streaming services – last year grew by 40.2% to become worth £621.4m.
With the major download and streaming services all owned by US giants, it’s certain that a fair chunk of the cash is heading out of the country and into the pockets of American shareholders.
TalkTalk and BT are in a prime position to take on the likes of Apple and keep some of that cash in the UK economy by continuing the proud British tradition of broadcaster innovation which I looked at recently.
The potential exists for both companies to launch their own digital content stores – something the BBC is already working on – and make purchases available not just on smartphones and Tablets, but via their respective Video on Demand players on YouView as well.
This would allow each to sell content which could be enjoyed on the move and also on the large screen TV when the customer is at home.
If they were quick it would also give them a feature which nether Sky nor Virgin Media can currently offer, helping differentiate their YouView based services from the rest of the crowd.