Shareholders in YouView may be called on to inject millions of pounds each into the venture as part of the group’s next partnership agreement, reports the FT.
It is particularly sensitive for the BBC and C4 which will want to scrutinise the costs of the platform, which other shareholders like BT and TalkTalk use as part of their triple play.
The BBC – which has been heavily criticised recently for the way it spends public money – is keen for much cheaper, “stripped down” set-top boxes to be introduced that will retail prices for £50 (€59) or less. Analysts estimate only around 30,000 of YouView’s customers have bought a set-top box, costing upwards of £220, independent of a subscription package.
YouView has seven partners including ITV, Channel 4, BT and TalkTalk. The shareholders are in discussions about extending the current partnership agreement, which ends in March next year.
Discussions have had to be extended as agreement hasn’t been reached. Under the original agreement, each of the seven shareholders invested £20m over a four-year period to develop the platform and launch the set-up boxes.