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BT Vision adds Universal Channel and others

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BT Vision is delivering more and more channels via multicast IP

UK telco BT has signed a deal with Universal Networks International, the international channels division of NBCUniversal, to add leading channels Universal Channel, Syfy and E! Entertainment to its IPTV service ‘BT Vision’ in the coming weeks.

The three channels will be streamed live and, from early 2013, BT Vision customers will also be able to watch specific programmes on-demand.

They will join the growing roster of channels BT has signed up recently, which include Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Real Time, British Eurosport 1 and 2, FX, National Geographic, National Geographic WILD and UKTV’s Gold, Watch and Alibi.

Universal Channel offers high-quality drama including UK premieres of US crime franchises such as Law&Order: Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent.

Syfy offers a blend of programming comprising drama, movies, reality and factual entertainment from the fantasy, supernatural and science fiction genres.

E! was recently refreshed with a new on-air look and “Pop of Culture” tagline, and is positioned as the destination channel for fans of celebrity, entertainment news and popular culture.

BT recently revealed that it has passed three-quarters of a million subscribers for its IPTV service ‘BT Vision’ after adding 21,000 customers in the third quarter of this year, and confirmed that it is accelerating its rollout of fibre broadband.

Editor’s note: BT Vision is beginning to look more and more like a regular managed IPTV service – despite starting out with just the Freeview channels delivered via DTT, the telco has started delivering an increasing number of channels via multicast IP, and shows no signs of abating.

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  • BT really needs to make up its mind just what it wants to be…. a proper TV broadcaster, or a retail (as opposed to wholesale) broadband provider, or an IPTV provider also distributing  to others to retail? It COULD be all of these, but only if it offers consumers sensible options – and trains its customer services to understand what these options are! And only if internally it gets over the internecine warfare between its own divisions that compete with each other over who gets to own the customer. 
     
    BT presents a totally confusing proposition to consumers, repeating the farce of their entry into pay TV via Freeview a year or so ago , where the hoops a viewer had to understand and navigate through were ludicrous,  essentially requiring that a customer converts to BR broadband in order to get Sky Sports on TV.  Much simpler was to go to one of the other distributors who’d done a deal with BT to carry the channels. 
     
    I live in Greater London,  but BT can’t offer me a fibre broadband connection that goes anywhere near what I’ve had for years from Virgin. I can’t get BT Vision…. for at least a year or two. But if I didn’t know better, I could waste an hour talking to ill-trained  BT CS reps trying to sell me these new “TV channels”, who fundamentally would be trying to sell me another, inferior, broadband service that I must take to receive them.
     
    BT is clearly confused INTERNALLY as to just what it wants to be. How on earth are consumers supposed to work out just what is on offer?  And fundamentally, BT Customer Service must be one of  the worst on earth to deal with. Everyone “is here to help”; but nobody actually can. So “let me give you another number to call”…. [tick the box and claim the bonus...another satisfied caller...]
     
    I’m a shareholder in BT.  I’d love them to succeed.  But I just don’t know what they are trying to achieve.  Does anyone? They’ve spent £millions acquiring sports rights. Tens of £millions in marketing how wonderful they are in providing the future.  Hundreds of £millions installing fibre backbone. Man-years in agreeing distribution rights. 
     
    And all this focussed apparently around BT Vision, which has patently failed to deliver even a fraction of its original promise, yet hailed as the resounding success on which the future of the company is being bet?
     
    What’s the gameplan, please?? Does anyone know?

    Fred Perkins on BT Vision adds Universal Channel and others

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