Last week’s Guardian article continues to spur excited chatter about the future of YouView, helped on by a new story claiming the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV are flouncing off to instead work on turning Freeview into a YouView-like service.
All the shareholders continue to deny the central claim that they or the others are walking away and yet still the speculation and rumours continue.
I’ve already looked at how it’s possible for the platform’s backers to reduce their investment and yet that be nothing exciting or unexpected, and others have been busy pointing out that integrating Freeview with catch-up players is nothing new – despite what the Guardian claims.
But there’s a couple of aspects of the Guardian’s story which have yet to be addressed, so here goes:
The paper reports that just 30,000 retail YouView boxes have been sold and that the rest have been hawked out for next to nothing by BT and TalkTalk then uses these figures to assert that the ISPs have carried out an ideological coup, corrupting the pay/free hybrid into a pure pay platform.
Let’s ignore for a moment that most informed commentators believe the retail number was closer to 70,000 as of mid 2013.
Let’s instead note in passing how utterly unremarkable it is that people have have opted to take the box from the cheapest source available – TalkTalk give them away for nothing, BT charge just £35.
And then let’s ask ourselves whether we think it’s possible that a sizeable number of those who grabbed a free or ultra-cheap box from TalkTalk or BT might cancel just as soon as they can, having bagged themselves a great deal on a very expensive bit of kit which will work just fine without a subscription.
Because there are certainly people in both ISPs who think so.
And we might even ask ourselves why BT and TalkTalk would engineer a situation where they so pissed off the their partners that they walked away, leaving the ISPs footing the entire bill for the platform’s future development costs.
We could even, if we were minded to be really picky, question just how effective BT’s secret plan to kill off YouView as a subscription free service will be if it keeps offering its set top boxes – including the very latest model – through retailers and without a subscription.
It’s entirely possible that some changes are coming to YouView but as yet there’s no evidence that they’re going to be as dramatic as the hyperbole suggests.