Wednesday, December 7, 2005

BT Signs IPTV Content Deals with BBC, Paramount, Warner

BT announced key content partnerships for its forthcoming IPTV service with BBC Worldwide, Paramount and Warner Music Group.

Starting next Autumn, BT aims to provide customers with a vast range of on-demand film, music and television programming as well as a compelling interactive and communications service. Significantly, BT's service will combine access to digital terrestrial channels, an extensive video on demand library and a range of interactive services.

Ian Livingston, BT Retail CEO, said: "A partnership between the country's leading communications company and three of the world's leading entertainment groups is great news for consumers in the UK."

The agreement with Paramount provides BT with Paramount's blockbuster films in the pay-per-view window as well as an extensive range or older and classic films from the famous Paramount movie archive, all on demand. October 2005, BT outlined its vision for nationwide next generation TV delivered over broadband and incorporating digital terrestrial channels. BT, which previously disclosed plans to use Microsoft TV IPTV Edition, announced its selection of Philips to supply set top boxes. Every set top box will include a personal video recorder (PVR) capable of storing up to 80 hours of programming and capable of delivering High Definition content.

BT said its service will be a world first combining access to digital terrestrial channels, an extensive video on demand library, "catch-up" TV and a range of interactive services.

BT is planning a commercial launch across the UK from late summer / autumn 2006. Trials are slated to begin next spring / early summer.

BT's next generation TV service will be available to BT customers without the need for a subscription fee. Services available at launch or shortly afterwards will include:

  • Entertainment on demand – an extensive library of movies, TV and music all available instantly

  • Catch-up TV – programmes from the previous seven days broadcast schedule will be available on demand without the need to record.

  • Flexible payment – no mandatory subscriptions. Pay-per-view options

  • Personal Video Recorder capable of storing up to 80 hours of programming

  • More than 30 digital terrestrial TV channels

  • Communication services – instant messaging, chat and video telephony on TV

  • Interactive services – online games, retail opportunities and community services

  • In August 2005, the BBC announced plans to launch an Internet video player application that lets viewers legally download up to seven days of its most recent TV programs. For UK viewers, a simulcast of BBC One or BBC Two would be available online at the same time as the television broadcast. "MyBBCPlayer", which is expected to launch in 2006, would also let viewers purchase additional content.

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