11/10/2008 9:51:00 AM
Internet TV off Orange’s immediate agenda
Orange’s TV-over-internet ambitions appear to have been kicked into touch after comments made by UK chief Tom Alexander.
Orange had originally pencilled in the summer of 2007 for a launch of its IPTV service. TV-over-internet is run by Orange in several countries and works by pushing on-demand TV programmes over the internet.
The move was postponed until the end of 2007, then delayed until some time later in the year. It now looks to be completely pushed off the immediate agenda.
Referring to TV-over-internet, Alexander is reported to have told Reuters that ‘no roll out is imminent’, and has also said it was looking at other ideas to help it stand out in what is a highly competitive market.
Trials have been running in Leeds for almost two years and have recently extended to London and other areas of the UK.
Orange has continually underlined its commitment to IPTV whenever questioned about delays in the past.
Removing IPTV as a major priority appears to be a significant win for the UK management who are believed to have voiced concern about launching IPTV while the UK business has been embroiled in fixing customer service issues that have plagued the business over the last 12 to 18 months.
Parent company France Telecom is known to have made IPTV a major priority for all of its key markets having seen considerable success in its domestic French market.
Experts have remarked of the stark contrast in conditions between the UK and French TV and broadband markets.
The dominance of Sky and Virgin in the UK TV market has been cited by many as a reason why Orange would encounter similar difficulties faced by BT if it were to make a move into the home TV sector. BT has failed to pick up large numbers of subscribers for its TV service, despite its leadership in the UK broadband market.
Orange is understood to have looked at the strength of its brand in films through ‘Orange Wednesdays’ and the ‘gold spot’ adverts before films as a route into launching on-demand films for home broadband customers.
A spokesman for Orange said: ‘Our digital TV trials in the UK have been going well to date and we've gained some valuable feedback from our customers.’
The spokesman added: ‘That said, we do believe approaches to offering such a service have moved on since our initial thinking, and we are currently reviewing different business models to accessing such content, including those which play to the strength of our existing mobile and portal platforms.’