Bushel speaking at the launch of BT Sport UHD. Image: BT Plc
Bushell speaking at the launch of BT Sport UHD. Image: BT Plc
BT TV is set to get an all-new look and “quite a lot” of additional video on demand content, according to boss Delia Bushell.

Speaking at this week’s Edinburgh International Television Festival, Bushell revealed that the YouView platform underpinning BT TV will soon undergo a radical overhaul, replacing its current menu system with a new “graphics rich” User Interface more akin to Netflix.

Once this is in place, the executive revealed that BT was looking at “launching quite a lot of apps” and, although no partners were announced, confirmed she “would like to” add Amazon’s Prime Video service to the platform.

Like Netflix, which is already available on YouView set top boxes, Amazon is investing heavily in original content and is increasingly being seen as a viable alternative to traditional, high-priced pay-TV subscriptions.

Offering both services on a single box could greatly enhance the appeal of BT TV, especially if the firm continues to exempt downloads from Video On Demand partners from its customers’ broadband allowances.

Giving a hint of what was in store over the coming year, Bushell told delegates: “We want to build out a lot more apps and on demand as well as our linear channels”.

Outside of sports, BT is the exclusive UK retailer for AMC and speculation remains rife that the broadband giant could be set to launch its own branded entertainment channel.

Although Bushell suggested BT was more likely to work with partners to bring top-name programming to its growing subscriber base, she confirmed that the tie-up with AMC had spurred TV producers to approach her with pitches and ideas for original shows.

Fellow panelist, AMC’s Harold Gronenthal, said his team had also been pitched ideas for UK based and produced shows and confirmed it was something they might consider.

“There is no reason why we couldn’t see ourselves doing original UK content,” Gronenthal said.

He also confirmed that the absence of some AMC branded shows, including Preacher, from the UK channel was due production and rights deals being agreed long before the BT deal was struck.

However going forward it seems AMC will seek to retain rights to original commissions for its network of international channels, including AMC UK.

Asked about AMC’s viewing figures, Bushell said the “biggest value” in the channel and its content was in driving up use of BT TV’s catch-up and on demand service.

However it seems BT TV customers hoping to watch Sky’s flagship entertainment channels on the platform look set for a long wait, with Bushell confirming that the two rivals were still nowhere near agreeing a carriage deal.