More than three years after inception and even after hiring the most high profile business leaders to drive the project, YouView is still to be seen and leading analysts are now even talking about it missing the London Olympics.
The subscription-free OTT on-demand service—from a consortium whose members who include BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Cisco, BT, Humax, Technicolor, TalkTalk and Arqiva— was originally intended for launch for summer 2011 but has continually fallen behind schedule.
YouView claimed in February 2011 that a product trial would take place by the end of that year, with a full consumer launch planned in early 2012. However launch has yet to take place. AT that time the consortium appointed Amstrad chief Alan in an attempt to get back on track a project that has become best by delays and other setbacks, the YouView consortium is set to Sugar to replace Kip Meek as its new head. The last publicised developments made by YouView were in September 2011 when it published its draft User Interface and Search Policy for consultation with industry, setting out how content will be presented to viewers in a way that makes it easy for them to discover.
Yet now with the Olympics looking, thought by many a s a make or break point for the project, it looks like the delays may run even further putting into question the validity of the whole project.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Ian Maude, analyst at leading TV researcher Enders said: “It has missed the whole point – to have it up and running for the Olympics…It has been stuck in bureaucratic treacle. They have a lot of shareholders of differing interests to please, and the net result is that everything has taken a lot longer than anyone originally predicted.
"The original logic behind YouView was pretty good: to future proof free-to-air television against pay-TV and ensure that it remained strong in the UK…But it is facing an increasingly competitive market. The justification for YouView is looking weaker by the day. The bottom line is: when is the box going to be available to the public and at what price level?”
Richard Halton, YouView chief executive assured the FT that the consortium was engaged in final user testing with YouView already live in a small number of homes and that it would be extending trials to hundreds and then thousands of homes in the coming months.