As regular readers may recall, back in February the Guardian excitedly declared the BBC “is withdrawing its support” from YouView and that it and all other broadcaster shareholders were going to leave “BT and TalkTalk as the major shareholders”.
The claims were regurgitated and amplified both on forums and other news sites and have become an ‘internet fact’.
In my questioning of the Guardian’s claims, I suggested the following could happen:
“it’s entirely possible that BT and TalkTalk will end up putting more into the platform than other shareholders in order to ensure that the BBC and other PSBs aren’t subsidising their commercial activities, with each ISP paying towards features only they use.”
Dial forward two months and the paper now reports:
“As the prime financial beneficiaries of YouView, BT and TalkTalk, who will make much more than other partners by cashing in on subscription TV revenues, will be expected to shoulder the bulk of development costs such as moving YouView into mobile and IP services that do not require set-top boxes.”
which looks remarkably close to my suggestion.
So does this extra ISP funding mean, as the Guardian claimed in February, that they’ll be left calling the shots?
Today it reports:
“the internet service providers will not get an upper hand in decision making as a result of their increased financial obligations.”
this is because:
“the seven shareholders will each retain equal ownership”.
So much for claims that BT and TalkTalk would emerge “as the major shareholders”.
The paper doesn’t seem able to admit to its earlier inaccuracy – there’s currently no link back to its February story in today’s debunking of it – instead it refers vaguely to “some critics” who “accused BT and TalkTalk of hijacking the venture to their own pay-TV ends.”
But there’s no mention of how these claims originated in, and were amplified by, the Guardian which has fuelled months of inaccurate re-reporting and gossip.
Perhaps in future a little more caution might be needed when reading the Guardian’s coverage of YouView – a service it has a decidedly downbeat attitude towards?