YouView: a marketer’s guide

Marketing Week answers marketers’ questions on how they might leverage YouView following its consumer launch this month.

YouView Stakeholders
YouView stakeholders: (Back row: Mark Thompson, BBC; Richard Martin, Channel Five; John Cresswell, Arqiva; John Petter, BT; Richard Halton, YouView; Adam Crozier, ITV. Seated: Dido Harding, TalkTalk; Lord Sugar, YouView)

What is YouView? How is it different from Freeview or subscriber services from Virgin, BT and Sky?

YouView is an internet-connected TV service that consumers can access via a set-top box, priced at £299 and available from a variety of retailers from the end of July. Broadband partners BT and TalkTalk are set to announce pricing for their YouView-linked phone and broadband packages later this month.

It brings together more than 100 digital TV and radio channels and on-demand content from YouView’s broadcaster partners the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

YouView’s main point of differentiation from other services is that it is “simple to use”, according to its chairman Lord Alan Sugar.

Users can scroll back through seven days’ worth of content (and often whole series’ worth of content from certain broadcasters); record, rewind and pause live programmes; discover the most popular content via an on-demand landing page; and  search for both live and on-demand programmes as well as actors all from their remote controls.

Most of these services are already available from other subscription-based and Smart TV packages, but YouView will also build in extra content from BT and TalkTalk. This could include sports (BT has Premier League rights from 2013 to 2016), films and other custom-made content.

Other broadcasters and brands can also bid to have their on-demand content hosted on the platform. Sky’s Now TV and STV are the first confirmed third-party content partners and will feature on YouView from the summer.

YouView Box
A YouView set-top box

Who is YouView aimed at?

At YouView’s launch event, Lord Sugar said that the product is targeted directly at the current Freeview audience and other people who do not want to be tied in to a subscription. He said this is the “other 13 to 15 million” people who do not currently have a satellite or cable subscription.

What are my options for advertising on YouView to reach the “other 13 to 15 million”?

YouView itself will not sell ad inventory in the traditional sense. However, brands and broadcasters can bid for YouView to host an on-demand content channel.

This means anyone from UKTV to Coca-Cola could appear under the standard linear EPG listings next to content channels from BT or TalkTalk. Bidding starts at £50,000.

YouView does not intend to offer further ad inventory, such as display, but CEO Richard Halton said it is exploring how it can take advantage of the consumer trend towards second screening.

This could include the roll out of social, companion or remote control mobile and tablet apps further down the line, which may have more advertising options.

What will YouView’s broadcast partners offer advertisers on the platform?

Brands can advertise against YouView’s broadcaster stakeholders’ (ITV, Channel 4 , Channel 5, Sky’s Now TV and STV) content, in a similar way in which they can already buy ads for their on-demand programming.

YouView’s broadcast partners will be given “complete” control over the type of inventory they can offer brands. This could include pre and post-roll advertising, ads within programming and so on.

Halton said YouView will offer a “better proposition” to advertisers than other platforms because there is the option to target by user rather than buying an audience like traditional TV buying.

Users will be given the option by some broadcasters to opt in to giving their data. This means those broadcasters would be able to build user profiles based on their usage behaviour to offer brands a more personalised targeting option.

The YouView interface
The YouView interface

How is YouView going to market itself in order to build its audience?

YouView is planning a major above the line marketing campaign after the Olympics, using the strapline “Extraordinary TV for everyone”. More details on the campaign can be found here.

Who might lose out as a result of YouView launching?

Freeview could understandably be concerned about the launch, especially considering YouView’s intentions to build the service straight into TV sets and to eventually roll out cheaper non-PVR options.

However, Freeview’s marketing director Guy North told Marketing Week the company is currently exploring offering an enhanced EPG that goes backwards and forward and linking on demand players into its service.

This could potentially form a “Freeview plus with anytime” offering, which it is looking to introduce over the “next couple of years” – the same time in which YouView is hoping to roll out its cheaper services. In the meantime, Freeview’s current offering is markedly cheaper than YouView’s £299 box.

Other brands threatened by YouView’s launch could include Google, Samsung, Apple, LG and other smart TV services.

Such services have struggled to attain mass-market appeal due to content rights holders not wanting to hand over their programming and relinquish control of their advertising.

YouView’s advantage is that the four major UK TV broadcasters are also its shareholders. The company is not handling the selling of ad inventory on behalf of its broadcasters, meaning the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have the flexibility to decide how ads will appear against their content and how much revenue that will provide.

The YouView interface
The YouView EPG

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