YouView still on course despite Freeview challenge, says Halton

Richard Halton

Richard Halton

YouView’s long-term strategy will not change in the face of new competition from Freeview’s new connected TV plan with the platform to continue to benefit from its ISP support, according to CEO Richard Halton.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Connected TV World Summit in London this morning, Halton told DTVE that YouView saw no reason “to change our plans or change our forecasts,” and that it maintains its long-term ambition to reach 10 million homes – up from just over 1 million today.

Speaking on a breakfast briefing panel about the future scenarios for TV operating systems, Halton said that he believed the UK TV market will start to consolidate around the main broadband providers that offer TV services – BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin – as opposed to being focused around DTT, satellite, cable.

He also said that most Freeview homes “will at some point to have a connected TV experience which their broadband provider will provide to them” – which will benefit YouView, as it is already the platform of choice of two of the four providers, BT and TalkTalk.

“BT has already committed to start swapping their existing BT TV boxes out and putting YouView in. TalkTalk and BT, you have to remember, are 50% of the broadband homes in the UK. They are 75-80% of homes with Freeview DTT,” he said.

“Customers have a relationship with their broadband provider and they now offer YouView, Sky and Virgin [which] are three incredibly high quality customer experiences that are content focused,” said Halton.

He stressed that while YouView shipments through BT and TalkTalk make up most of its business, retail is also still important to its business. “If you look at YouView stats in retail, we ship pretty much 25-30% of all Freeview DTT PVRs in this country. That’s our marketshare, so it’s pretty significant. It’s just that for us it’s a tiny proportion of our total volume,” said Halton.

Asked by DTVE whether Freeview’s plans to launch a connected TV platform posed a threat, he said: “It depends what they’re doing. Frankly I don’t think the retail offer is likely to change. I think it’s going to be dominated by the major TV set manufacturers.”

However, he added that there will still be a role for set-top box makers, and that partnerships will be forged, as they have been between the likes of Freesat and Panasonic.

YouView recently secured funding from its seven stakeholders that will run until 2019.