YouView reaches out to content community
By Julian Clover
Published: November 9, 2010 17.26 Europe/London

YouView is calling on content providers to help it develop its content system. Speaking at the Westminster Media Forum, CEO Richard Halton said the hybrid project wanted to work directly with one or two providers to ensure the organization got the right system in place.

“YouView will unlock the big screen, rather than leaving it as the preserve of those that can afford the relatively expensive capacity on Freeview” said Halton. “YouView will enable new relationships to be formed.”

The first phase of the programme will focus on identifying a small number of audio and video on demand content providers to work with YouViews’s technical team to develop and test the processes for making content available via the hybrid platform.

The programme will be extended to other types of content, including web applications and IP channels, as the technical environment develops.

It is hoped that organisations that represent the arts, and other areas of public life will come forward, alongside local TV operators. Although some local TV organisations have criticized YouView, others see the platforms ability to identify the local area of a viewer as a means to deliver services without the need to invest in terrestrial infrastructure.

“We have a forward looking commitment to building content in the UK,” said Halton. “We really believe it will be the content providers that will catapult connected TV into consumers’ homes.”

Working on a similar cost recovery model to that practised by Freeview and Freesat, YouView will provide access to the platform, but it will be up to the content providers and channels to make their own arrangements if they wish to charge for their services. A handful of payment companies have already come forward.

Halton also confirmed that the first pilot project of the DTT-based set-tops would take place early next year, ahead of the launch that has been scheduled for mid 2011.