The BBC’s iPlayer took the UK TV by storm and made everyone panick into inventing another system for Digital delivery of back-catalogue and archived content called CatchUP TV. Catchup TV is and always has been a VOD system, I have been saying this for some time. So when the BBC announced it was going to make it available outside of the UK they had to tie a little message to it. The message stated that the product could not be delivered on a CDROM. The marketing of digital TV systems is such that people have tried to make things sound consumer friendly with the attempt to avoid Acronyms which is reasonable in todays techie driven world. It had been marketed so well to consumers they really did think it was just a PC programme totally unaware of the back-office infrastructure and massive cost of deploying such a sysytem. It was nice to see that Freemantle in the press today stated that the BBC could help balance its books by charging users of its massively popoular iPlayer VOD site, I feel better in a simple kind of way.
CatchupTV, CATCHupTV, CatchUPTV or CatchUPtv…whichever way you write it is just a Broadcasters VOD Catalogue. Having myself worked in the music industry and seen how broadband transformed their business models and modus operandi. I believe that Broadcasters are victims of today’s technology hype and being led towards that same dark place. We see the division of customers between traditional TV and PC watching; creating along the way an “a la carte” (non advertising) service in the process with VOD & PVR combined. Just how much TV can you watch from the PVR and Catchup? I have 12 episodes of House, 10 episodes of CSI Miami and New York and the entire season of The History of Artists as well as a plethora of films….Enough TV for months at a couple of hours a night viewing scale and I don’t have to watch the ads. Linear Broadcasting is shooting itself in the foot by going VOD. In this market we know that the BBC have no ARPU to take care of or revenue from advertising; they provide a “Digital TV Tsunami” flooding the Internet with their content. They continue to try to make the rules with initiatives like canvas and many, even the government think this is wrong and beyond their remit. Mike Fries of Liberty Global publicly stated at the Berlin Cable Conference this year that the BBC is merely an anomaly and what works in the UK under the BBC will not work elsewhere. The Beeb do however make it dificult for the rest of the broadcasters who have to provide equal or competitve services. It is all a little lopsided. If the iPlayer had been a pay service from the beginning would it have as successful? I think not!