BT, the UK telecommunications company, has appointed staff from Freeview and BSkyB to its new TV services division, in preparation for the launch of video-on-demand services over broadband.
Freeview general manager Lib Charlesworth will join BT Television Services as head of sales and marketing.
She left BSkyB last June on secondment as general manager of DTV Services, the joint-venture company that owns and markets Freeview. She replaced Matthew Seaman, who left to join the digital terrestrial subscription service Top-Up TV.
Karen Saunders, head of pay-per-view at Sky Networks, has been appointed as head of programmes and acquisitions for the BT television initiative. She was previously responsible for content acquisition, programming and marketing of Sky Box Office.
BT is planning to launch a broadband service that will combine video-on-demand services with digital terrestrial television.
Dan Marks, the chief executive of BT Television Services is quoted by New Media Age as saying that both appointments “have the experience and skills to help develop and launch a world class TV service.” This hints at a scale of ambition that BT has previously been keen to downplay.
A number of other providers, including VideoNetworks, which operates Home Choice in London, have plans to roll out their own broadband television services.
News of the appointments comes as Ofcom published a new regulatory framework for fixed line telecommunications. One of the six objectives is “to support more innovation through the growth of competitive products and services, such as faster broadband, television and voice over the internet and video-on-demand, from a range of credible companies”.
In an agreement to avert a possible imposed break-up of the company, BT has undertaken to set up a separate business unit, provisionally called Access Services, with a commitment to provide guaranteed equality of access to BT’s local network.