BT Focuses Its IPTV 'Vision'
The approach is clear: BT is aiming to capture subscribers by making the pricing simple and affordable, and by offering as many hours of British football (a.k.a. soccer) programming as it can get its hands on -- and that's a big draw in the U.K., where armchair sports is a major pastime.
The way BT is tackling TV and video content delivery is no secret: It is using its Home Hub gateway, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s IPTV Edition platform, and set-top boxes from Royal Philips Electronics NV (NYSE: PHG; Amsterdam: PHI) to deliver on-demand movies, music, and archive TV programs across BT broadband connections. (See Microsoft Wins at BT, BT Gets a Gateway, and BT Picks Philips Set Top Boxes.)
Broadcast TV content will not be delivered over the broadband connection, but comes over-the-air and via the set-top box, dubbed the V-box. That box, which is HD (high definition) ready, has been specially designed with a connection to ingest the Freeview digital TV channels, of which there are about 40, including all the mainstream BBC and commercial channels. Freeview TV is, as the name suggests, free.
The on-demand content includes a broad range of movies, music, and TV programs both recent and old, courtesy of a wide range of content deals the carrier has struck. (See BT Strikes Content Deals, BT Signs More IPTV Deals, BT Adds Music Video Deal.)
The jewels in the BT Vision content crown are the soccer deals. BT had already secured a deal to show near-live English Premiership action starting next August (the 2007-2008 season), with the games being made available a few hours after the final whistle.
But it supplemented that package today by announcing a deal with Irish Pay TV specialist Setanta, which has been building a package of sporting content based on live Scottish soccer, golf, horse racing, and other sports, but which, again from August 2007, will also include live English premiership games. (See BT Scores Soccer Deal.)
That its key content isn't available for another nine months could explain why BT is in no rush to engage in an immediate massive marketing campaign, and why it believes customers will be prepared to wait to get hooked up to the service.
BT has been collecting details of BT broadband customers who want the BT Vision service and claims it has more than 10,000 names signed up.
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