BT is to revamp is BT Vision IPTV service to offer a more personalised experience and social media elements, reports the FT.
The move comes as competition in the UK pay-TV has increased with the launch of online movie and TV service Netflix, where it faces other established players such as BSkyB, Virgin Media, as well as other online providers LOVEFiLM, and iTunes.
According to sources with knowledge of the launch, BT will introduce the next generation of BT Vision service within the next few weeks, introducing greater interactivity with its on-demand content library. Plans for the next generation of the service include the use of a system of personalised recommendations to tailor content to the tastes of the watcher to improve the experience.
There is also expected to be a layer of social networking introduced by BT Vision, which will be revamped in advance of the YouView open platform IPTV launch that has been supported by BT alongside the main TV channels.
BT chief executive Ian Livingston, in a recent interview with the FT, said the telco was focused on bringing “true interactivity to the TV set, which is the most watched screen in the house,” suggesting this meant “on-demand services; it means the availability of buying things as you do it; to have personalised services; to know what your friends like and what they think of it. I think that will change viewing habits quite considerably. It won’t happen overnight but I think it’s the start of something quite big.” he said.
In the second quarter of its financial year up to September 2011, BT reported an additional 41,000 customers – the highest number for more than two years – to take the total subscriber base to 639,000. This was still somewhat short of a planned 2 million to 3 million subscribers by 2011.