YouView fastest growing UK TV service with 400,000 customers

YOUVIEW, the internet-connected set-top box backed by the BBC, BT and TalkTalk, has sold more than 400,000 units since its launch 10 months ago.

The firm, whose backers also include ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, saw its release repeatedly delayed after it was first announced in 2008, but yesterday it claimed that the sales milestone made it the fastest growing TV service in the UK.

YouView is billed as the next generation of Freeview TV, offering seamless integration between live broadcast channels and on-demand services such as the BBC’s iPlayer. When it launched at the end of July last year, observers were sceptical about sales due to its £300 price.

However, both BT and TalkTalk have subsidised the technology alongside their pay-TV services, while the price of the set-top box itself has fallen.

YouView’s chief executive, former BBC veteran Richard Halton, also said that the service will start broadcasting internet channels in the summer. He said the online channels, which will be provided by BT and TalkTalk to their own customers, will allow YouView to up its channels from the 70 free-to-air stations currently broadcast to a theoretically infinite number.

Internet channels are set to be a substantial advantage for YouView against the likes of Sky, the UK’s most popular pay-TV platform. YouView is also close to adding as-yet unnamed content providers, for example Netflix and Lovefilm.

“YouView is taking catch-up TV into the mainstream,” Halton said.