February 26, 2009

Berkett's words on HD

A full transcript of Neil Berkett's presentation is now available online (courtesy of www.seekingalpha.com). It's mainly financial in the presentation's content and with the Q&A, but there were a few tidbits relevant to HD and the V+:
We also had another good quarter of V+ growth. We've doubled the number of subscribers in the last year. Our research shows that DVR customers churn less than other customers. Even with a strong growth we still only penetrated 15% of that digital base so we feel there is still a strong growth opportunity here.

All of our half million DVR boxes are HD ready and we intend to grow our HD content and capability this year. Clearly, our competitors have indicated that this is an area where they intend to invest and grow and we are determined that we are not going to allow them to build competitive advantage in this area. Of course, our competitive TV advantages in VOD and we already have over 100 out of HD video-on-demand content and we will be expanding this.

The key HD content that we do today are premium sports and movie channels that Sky will not [inaudible]. As you know, OFCOM is conducting a market investigation into pay TV and that's our last consultation paper proposed a wholesale regime that would oblige Sky to wholesale its premium content including HD to us at economic rates. We are proactively engaged with OFCOM and we hope to hear the next steps in May or June.

[...] I've expressed my frustrations on several occasions, publicly and privately at the complexity and opaquely of the regulatory environment of which OFCOM and the Competition Commission needs to work within. We are hopeful that Digital Britain itself will start to address some of the deficiencies in the process such that when a regulator can come out and say there is some fundamental things that are wrong in this market that it could still take months and, yes, it could take years. So – unfortunately, we will continue to work with the regulators and with government to ensure that the whole of the market get access to content that is withheld by a dominant player and hopefully, UK consumers can reap the benefit of it.


Anonymous said...

haha no chance of hd then

Rob said...

It would seem the Berkett's is waiting for OFCOM to offer HD to him, as opposed to negotiating with Sky.

As for not letting Sky get competitive advantage in this area, seems rather amusing based on his company's apparent inability to have the agility to keep up.

Anonymous said...

"we already have over 100 out of HD video-on-demand content"

Huh? Going by the TV Choice, BBC ("More On Demand"?) and Filmflex links on this blog, I count about 84. That includes multiple episodes of the same series and all of the expensive filmflex rentals.

Have they perhaps snuck in some more HD VOD not listed on the blog yet, or are they now lying about their existing content (as well as making promises to break later)?

Anonymous said...

some itv Od as been added only cracker and al murray so far.

but its a start

Nialli said...

"over 100 hours" I struggled with too. Put the BBC stuff and Filmflex movies together and I think you get over 100 hours but I haven't done the maths recently. There is some HD content hidden around in the music and adult sections - in fact, the latter seems to have quite a bit these days so it's obviously a profitable sideline...
I don't know if Sky offers HD soft porn. Not really my kind of thing. Honest.

Afront said...

Meanwhile, NBC Universal join XBox Live in the UK

Neil Thompson, head of Xbox in the UK: "We are certainly the biggest VOD service in front of the TV in the UK."

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah

Anonymous said...

Oh over 100 HOURS. That's what OUT OF means. I counted 84 items, so yeah that would be over 100 hours probably, although the duration listed in the menu is often much longer than the real duration so their own calculations can't be trusted too carefully!

Impressed that there's any ITV HD VOD already though! If they just put everything in there in the future that's even better than red button service IMO (bear in mind I don't care about football).

GJD said...

"Clearly, our competitors have indicated that this (HD) is an area where they intend to invest and grow and we are determined that we are not going to allow them to build competitive advantage in this area."

Too late. Sky, Xbox and Apple all offer vastly more HD content than Virgin's one channel and handful of VoD content.

Sky is the HD platform of choice and if it wasn't for the licence fee, Virgin wouldn't have any HD content at all.

Anonymous said...

"if it wasn't for the licence fee, Virgin wouldn't have any HD content at all."

There HAS been some top notch stuff available on demand not from the BBC. For example HBO, watching The Sopranos in HD was great. I don't know what most of that TV Choice stuff is now.

Paid movies on demand ARE available, nowt to do with license fee, not a huge selection (beaten by Xbox and Apple, not sure how the picture quality compares but looks good to me) but I find I can get what I want to watch from what's there and pay less than a Sky Movies subscription and I think a lot of casual Sky Movies subscribers would save money they amount they watch.

Anonymous said...

Berkett is a liar and someone should ask him directly why he lied to everyone late last year about 4 new HD channels launching by March.

I wouldn't trust the man as far as I could throw him, and I really wish there was a good HD alternative which wasn't owned by Murdoch. Much as I want HD I do have some morals, and I will never support someone as utterly vile as Murdoch. I guess Apple TV is my best option.

Nialli said...

Our friend Afront recommends the X-Box as the best HD alternative to Sky, see this post on his blog: http://www.pansentient.com/2009/02/comparison-of-on-demand-hd-movies.html

OLU said...

its unbeliveable how vm take money 4 HD channel from us and there only BBC HD

which dose not even work for a hole day

this 2009 now other country now show HD even african now

only GOD know why VM fooling around with US

Anonymous said...

"some itv Od as been added only cracker and al murray so far."

Thought you must have meant in HD, didn't know why you'd say it in this thread otherwise! I checked and there's a couple of pages of TV Choice OD for ITV now including what you say, but it's certainly no HD. Cracker is actually letterboxed 4:3 SD... I guess I wouldn't expect something from the 90s to be their first showcase HD content but it's looking pretty bad even in SD.