The leading telco in the United Kingdom is reported to be preparing to rebrand its television service to EE TV. It would be consistent with BT embracing EE as a consumer brand since it acquired the mobile network operator, originally formed as Everything Everywhere as a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and France Télécom. The former EE TV service was discontinued at the end of March 2021.
Marc Allera, the chief executive of BT Consumer, said in April 2022 that the company was starting to make EE the flagship brand for consumers. The EE name is considered to be a strong brand that is seen as more progressive than BT.
BT had tried to boost its brand with BT Sport. Since BT formed a joint venture with Warner Bros Discovery to merge BT Sport with Eurosport, it will now be rebranded as TNT Sports.
The unconfirmed reports also suggest that customers will be able to access the EE TV service on Apple TV devices.
There are precedents for such an app approach. Swisscom has offered its blue TV service on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad devices for a couple of years, as well as on its own TV boxes.
Apple lists 20 countries that support TV Provider Authentication that allow integration of television services with Apple TV. The United Kingdom has been conspicuously absent from the list. In the United States there are over 500 providers that are listed as compatible.
The Apple TV proposition is perceived as a premium product, like the iPhone, which may be more attractive to consumers than the typical black box from the service provider.
It raises further questions about the future of YouView, the television platform formed as a joint venture between British public service broadcasters, BT and TalkTalk. The company powers the set-top box offering of BT and TalkTalk.
The last announcement from YouView was that Riccardo Balestiero, the former director of products at BT Consumer, was appointed as chief executive of YouView in November 2022, after seven years as the BT representative on the board of the company. He talked of leading YouView into “the All-IP era”.
That suggests a move from a hybrid platform combining terrestrial television with services delivered over broadband to internet distribution, following the lead of Sky Glass and Virgin Stream.
Confusingly, Digital UK, the organisation that is now responsible for Freeview and more recently Freesat, was rebranded as Everyone TV in January 2023. Owned by the same public service broadcasters as YouView, Everyone TV is expected to launch its own online service.