Will YouView miss the Olympics?

16 Apr 2012  |  Liz Jaques 

There has been lots of speculation over the launch date of YouView, after the connected TV service from partners including the BBC, ITV and BT was delayed in 2010/2011 amid rumours of technical difficulties.

A launch date of early 2012 was discussed following the initial delay, with May being mentioned as a realistic deadline. The thinking was that the service would want to be available before the Olympics to maximise potential sales and marketing opportunities.

However, Enders analyst Ian Maude told the FT that YouView will not be up and running in time for the Olympics. "It has been stuck in bureaucratic treacle," he said. "They have a lot of shareholders of differing interests to please, and the net result is that everything has taken a lot longer than anyone originally predicted."

Writing for Convergence, Richard Kastelein asks whether this means the UK will be left with a Red Button-only Olympics? "This seems to have been a long torturous journey since 2010. Claim of delays have always been set to technical issues, but insiders say it's the stakeholders bickering that's the real problem. The long wait for YouView has stalled innovation for the UK creative sector in terms of interactive TV and it's going to be a game of catch-up to the continent if YouView does not get off the ground soon."

Raymond Snoddy has a different view. In February, he said: "The silence on an official launch date has been deafening. YouView was very firm that the launch would not come in 2011 and they were absolutely true to their word. Then it was 'early' this year and now the talk is May. Of course the device that links the television set to the internet has to work and there is no point in going off at half-cock and there is probably little business advantage in linking a launch to the London Olympics.

"However, the long period when the dog did not bark has given rivals a long time to plan rival or complementary products. It would be embarrassing if Sky, which says it is launching its new internet pay service in the first half of this year, managed to launch before YouView. Given Sky's record in meeting launch deadlines you wouldn't bet against it.".

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