BT Vision


The TV platform's pounds 30m push touting its new Sky Sports offering has fallen flat, writes Jeremy Lee.

For BT Vision, the acquisition of rights to show Sky Sports 1 and 2 was meant to herald a new era for its hybrid DTT/IPTV platform. Indeed, so excited about the development was Adam, the BT ads' resident protagonist, that he managed to tear himself away from mulling over his seemingly endless courtship of Jane.

Instead, in a dream-like sequence, the brand character left his flat and entered the tunnel ready to emerge onto a football pitch alongside players including Michael Owen and Shay Given, to the cheers of the crowd.

Sadly, for some subscribers who chose to take up the BT Vision offer, the reality proved disappointing. In a blunder reminiscent of recent aberrations suffered by ITV in its sports coverage, a technical glitch prevented viewers from accessing the Sky Sports packages for which they had paid.

While BT has promised to refund those affected, and pointed out that Top Up TV suffered similar problems, it was not the ideal start. It also threatened to overshadow BT's pounds 30m marketing investment in its entry into the deregulated TV sports market, intended to drive uptake However, BT Vision has yet to gain the scale it promised. In the most recent quarter it acquired only 14,000 subscribers; its lowest quarterly increase for two years.

So what should BT Vision do next? We asked Neil Davidson, strategic planning director at Billington Cartmell, who has worked with Vodafone, and Mike Welsh, chief executive of Publicis Dialog, who worked on ITV Digital.

DIAGNOSIS - Two industry experts explain how BT Vision can give Sky a run for its money

NEIL DAVIDSON, strategic planning director, Billington Cartmell

Sky, and its emotionally engaging advertising, dominates the market. While Sky trumpets its own content, creating a buzz around it, BT Vision has to tread the line between using Sky-generated content to sell itself and communicating packages in ways that can feel lesser.

BT Vision needs to communicate more clearly its real point of difference and why consumers should feel good about choosing it over the more obvious choice, Sky. How can BT Vision differentiate itself in a way that feels relevant to consumers' lives, not just another bit of kit slugging it out over price?

BT Vision also needs to create a more meaningful connection with the broader BT brand. While Sky maximises the buzz from its own content, BT doesn't fully maximise its credentials as a broader communications brand, particularly in its TV advertising.

REMEDY

- Position BT Vision as the more intelligent, consumer-focused choice. …

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