Plans for YouView, a new TV service offering on-demand and internet-connected features from BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva, have been criticised by local TV operators and production firms.
Geraldine Allinson, chairwoman of KM Group and Helen Philpot, managing director of north Lincolnshire TV channel Channel 7 CIC, were amongst the signatories of a letter to the Times late last week that said YouView had been “parachuted” into the “new and exciting market” of internet-connected television sets.
The full list of signatories:
- Peter Williams, Peter Williams Television;
- Jim Deans Global Digital Broadcast/Devlin Media;
- Graham Cowling, TVChichester;
- Rodney Hearth, the UK Entertainment Channel;
- Geoff Kershaw, Channel Green TV;
- Alan Cummings, Channel 9 TV/UC Business;
- Marilyn Hyndman, Northern Visions / NvTv;
- Dave Rushton, Institute of Local Television;
- Daniel Cass, SIX TV;
Jaqui Devereux, United for Local Television.
The objections from the group echo those made against the BBC’s proposals to expand its local video content, which were rejected by the BBC Trust in November 2008.
The letter says that YouView could “hijack the fledgling local TV market” and calls for a thorough competition investigation of the platform:
Collectively these organisations control nearly three quarters of all television viewing and the entire digital terrestrial TV transmission network.
The BBC and its partners claim that YouView offers a common set of technical standards that will help everyone get the best out of this exciting new world. But it can equally be interpreted as an attempt by some of the biggest players in the business to hijack this fledgling market, impose their own vision of how it will operate and dictate the viewers’ experience.
The joint venture partners will control all aspects of the platform and its operational policies. If any third parties wish to participate, they will have to do so on the terms dictated to them by the UK’s largest free-to-air broadcasters.