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BT Vision prepares for launch

BT will give its IPTV service, Vision, a proper marketing push this weekend, finally putting the service into hard launch mode, following a soft introduction in December.

Ovum analysts Annelise Berendt and Mike Cansfield have been told that the now familiar ‘BT family’ will kick off a national campaign on Saturday across TV, billboards, the web and national press.

BT Vision allows the company’s existing broadband customers to watch Freeview channels, as well as a library of films, music, and sports programmes on demand.

The offering will be pushed out on the high street via a number of large shopping centres, department stores and electrical retail outlet Comet.

When we talked with BT last month a spokesman said the service has already been delivered to around 5,000 customers who pre-registered for the product, prior to launch.

Following the spring campaign, BT expects to ramp that figure to its target of 200,000 customers by year-end.

The offering combines a Freeview digital TV receiver with video-on-demand and “catch-up” television delivered over broadband. BT said it would offer a set-top box worth £199 free of charge for users signing up for the service. An on-demand film will cost a maximum of £2.99, the company said.

“One of the biggest challenges for the operator is building its reputation as a television provider, and that this will take time and cannot be done over night,” said analyst Ovum.

“BT has done well to fit what is a significant new service launch into an existing marketing execution, extending the BT portfolio that is already being promoted,” the analyst added.

The operator is expected to follow up with a further marketing campaign in the summer centred around BT Vision’s sports content. Although not directly attempting to steal customers from satellite and cable, the company hopes to target those who find the alternatives too expensive.

“With the launch of this campaign we will now begin to see whether BT can successfully execute a marketing strategy to move the BT brand beyond communications and into the entertainment space, “Ovum said.

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