BT Vision will miss customer target

The head of UK IPTV service BT Vision has admitted that it will fail to reach its target of 2-3 million customers by the end of 2010.

Chief executive Marc Watson said BT Vision, which currently has 433,000 customers, would not make the target set by BT Group’s CEO Ian Livingstone. Talking to the Financial Times, Watson said he had a more realistic goal of one million customers in the short term. He blamed the absence of premium content from the UK’s leading pay-TV operator BSkyB for the platform’s low customer numbers, but added that he hoped regulation would mean BT will have access to that content by the start of the 2010/2011 English Premier League season. He also said BT had struggled to market the TV service, adding that the company had found it difficult to convert from a telco to an entertainment retailer.

However, a recent ruling by communications regulator Ofcom means that BT can bundle its TV service with broadband and telephony at a discounted price for the first time. The telco is expected to launch a marketing campaign at the start of next year focussing on triple-play bundles with BT Vision forming the centrepiece, according to the FT.