YouView, the hybrid television platform planned by a consortium of British broadcasters and broadband providers, has appointed Chris Bramley from Sky to the vacant role of chief technology officer. The consortium of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva, still plans to launch the platform in early 2012.
Chris Bramley was previously principal architect at British Sky Broadcasting, where he led technical teams responsible for delivering the Sky online video proposition, formerly Sky Anytime, then renamed Sky Player, now known as Sky Go. Before that, he worked as a senior technical architect at ioko, the digital media systems integrator that developed the Sky online video platform and which is now part of Kit Digital.
“Chris has proven his technology leadership through delivering innovative new services into UK homes,” said Richard Halton, the chief executive of YouView. “He has the right expertise to lead YouView’s technical team through launch and to support the future growth of the platform.”
The position of chief technology officer at YouView has been vacant since December 2010. The former occupant, Anthony Rose, left after six months and went on to found Zeebox, a startup that aims to connect television and social media.
Sef Tuma of Accenture stepped in as head of technical delivery in the interim and will remain in that role. Jeff Hunter, who was previously with BBC Research and Development, will remain chief architect.
YouView still says it is on track to launch in “early 2012”. However, the consortium has yet to publish sufficient details of the platform to enable third parties to develop for the platform. The core technical specification was published in April. The consortium has been working with a selected industry advisory group but has not published any details of the application programming interfaces necessary to create services for the platform.
YouView has meanwhile published a draft user interface and search policy, outlining how it will allocate prominence in its listings, initially favouring public service broadcasters, services with the greatest audience reach and the most popular programming.
Pay-television provider Sky has been among the critics of YouView and previously submitted a formal complaint to the communications regulator Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading about the consortium.
The appointment of someone from Sky with a strong background in online video services will give credibility to the platform, which was originally due to launch in the first half of 2011.
ITV has meanwhile appointed Mark Smith, the former launch director of the BBC global iPlayer project, to become director of architecture and integration. Reporting to recently appointed chief technology officer Paul Dale, he will be responsible for the design and build of infrastructure at the commercial broadcaster. The ITV Player online video service has struggled to match the success of the BBC iPlayer, but ITV has recently invested in Apple and Android apps to extend its reach.