Since it was officially launched last September, YouView has been having some difficulties, with reports of internal wrangling and technical issues delaying the launch of the set top box by over six months. Now, however one knight (or lord) in shining armour has ridden to its rescue and hopes to change things quickly.
Lord Alan Sugar has been appointed as non-executive chairman of YouView taking over from Kip Meek (with a name like that he was probably never up to the job anway) who joined in July 2010 when it was called Project Canvas. Lord Sugar will not only bring with him vast experience in business in general, but also in the set-top box business. His former company Amstrad provided up to 75 percent of Sky’s boxes in 2007 before BSkyB purchased the company. “It has been apparent for some time that the YouView board would benefit from additional expertise in consumer marketing and technology delivery. Lord Sugar clearly supplies this. As the venture progresses towards launch, the change in Chairman makes sense. I wish Lord Sugar well," a statement from Meek read.
Charles Dunstone, speaking on behalf of the joint venture shareholders (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva), said that he couldn't think of anyone better to help bring YouView into people's homes. To do this, Lord Sugar will need to sort out any internal wrangling which is holding up the launch of the service, which was slated for this summer but will now not be seen until early 2012. YouView aims to combine the best of on-demand services, such as BBC’s iPlayer and Channel 4’s 4OD, with current PVR features such as pausing live TV and recording an entire TV series.
While consumer interest in this product has been high, mainly due to the lack of a subscription, any more delays could see interest wane and see consumers look instead towards connected TVs which offer apps from iPlayer and 4OD already built-in to the sets.