9/22/2008 11:21:00 AM
Orange likely to launch home TV with on demand films
Orange is likely to build its IPTV service around on-demand films when it eventually launches a home TV service to take on Sky, Virgin, Freeview and BT Vision.
TV in the home has been pencilled in for late this year or the early part of next year – 18 months to two years later than schedule.
Nationwide trials for the TV service have been running in earnest, with sources claiming the technology for the service is ready. Trialists first started using the on-demand film service only in Leeds.
Orange has effectively ruled itself out of bidding for Premiership football rights when they come up for auction in 2010, deeming them to costly.
Orange’s TV service in France has been carried by sponsorship and rights for the domestic football competition, Ligue 1.
Films, meanwhile, are seen as a logical fit with arguably Orange’s most successful asset in terms of consumer appeal: the Orange Wednesday promotion, offering two for one cinema tickets.
Criticism had been levelled at Orange from some customers recently after it started charging customers for the text message to redeem the Orange Wednesday code.
Orange’s advert slots before films are also hugely popular and has made Orange the most closely associated brand with movies and cinema.
The service will offer a huge library of films to choose from, with either a pay-per-film method or an unlimited download fee for a monthly fee. Virgin and BT already offer such a service.
Delays around Orange’s home TV service centre on tension between the high priority of IPTV as a strategic imperative for France Telecom, Orange’s parent company, and the challenges faced by the UK subsidiary.
Orange UK saw its fixed-line broadband business losing customers (31,000 between January and March this year), and was at the bottom or near the bottom of surveys from Which and uSwitch. Fixing the broadband service problems, and the business’s reputation is seen as a bigger priority by several senior individuals at Orange UK. The UK business also feels the UK TV market is already extremely competitive and much harder to break into than the French TV market because of the presence of Sky and Virgin.
Orange declined to comment.