YouView claims that it is approaching 400,000 homes in the United Kingdom since the hybrid broadcast and broadband service launched in July 2012. The majority of these are YouView boxes bundled with broadband subscriptions, with relatively few retail sales. The first numbers announced by YouView also claim over two million video on demand plays a week, which is around five per household.
Richard Halton, the chief executive of YouView said: “We’ve had a great start and we’re delighted to have received such a positive response from consumers. We’re already the fastest growing TV service in the UK and now we can see that translating into viewing.”
Over 60% of YouView homes are apparently viewing video on demand. On average they watch seven programmes a week on demand, a total of more than three hours, at an average length of 27 minutes. Out of the 15,000 hours of on-demand programming available on the platform, children’s programmes appear to be the most popular, led by Peppa Pig and Mickey Mouse Club House.
To put that in perspective, the BBC iPlayer alone received 183 million requests for television programmes in April. Some 28 million of these were through platform operators, 13 million were from internet connected televisions, games consoles and other devices, while 65 million were from tablets and mobile handsets, with the remainder coming from computers.
Meanwhile, Freeview remains the primary television service for the majority of people in the United Kingdom, with over 11 million households relying in it for their main television and almost 20 million on their second television.
YouView is bundled for free with broadband packages from BT and TalkTalk and available as a standalone retail product at list price of £299 from single manufacturer, Humax.
BT does not report how many of its BT Vision homes have YouView boxes, although at the end of 2012 they numbered around 60,000. Assuming all its recent additions were to YouView, there might be around 100,000 YouView boxes on BT Broadband.
TalkTalk reported that it has 230,000 YouView customers. With more than 12,000 customers taking the service every week, it claims to be the fastest growing television service in the country.
That suggests a total installed base with BT and TalkTalk of around 330,000 homes. With YouView claiming it is “on its way to reaching 400,000 homes” that implies total retail sales of just 70,000 boxes, which is perhaps not surprising since they are effectively being offered free with broadband subscriptions. Nevertheless, sales of an average of a couple of thousand boxes a week do not suggest a strong retail proposition.
YouView will be adding channels delivered over broadband this summer. It says this will enable YouView to move from offering around 70 free-to-air terrestrial channels to a theoretically limitless number of live channels delivered over broadband.
What you will not find for the moment on YouView are YouTube, Netflix or LoveFilm. Despite being promoted as an open platform, the Sky Now TV service is so far the only video on demand service available from a non-shareholder in the joint venture.