Cable & Wireless Communications has unveiled its line-up of retail partners for the launch of its digital TV services, insisting that cable is better placed to develop e-commerce than rival terrestrial and satellite platforms.
Barclays Bank, British Airways and Littlewoods are expected to offer interactive services from the outset of CWC’s digital cable service next summer. CWC, meanwhile, says it is talking “with a range of other high-street retailers” to widen the scope of home shopping facilities available to early CWC subscribers.
But its retailing partners insist that they remain open to doing business through rival platforms ONdigital and British Interactive Broadcasting, both of which plan to roll out their digital pay-TV services before the end of this year.
A spokesman for Barclays says: “Our arrangement with Cable & Wireless is not exclusive. We will be offering our customers whatever delivery channel they expect. Anything is possible.”
Littlewoods has also confirmed it is seeking to work alongside BIB as well as CWC in launching TV-delivered interactive services, although it accepts that BIB is not placed to offer the same capacity for home shopping as cable.
According to John G Ellis, managing director of the home shopping channel joint venture between Littlewoods and Granada Media Group: “Cable operators have a significant advantage in terms of bandwidth in the capacity of interactive services they can carry.”