It must be the balmy air of Barcelona, which is playing host to the Morgan Stanley technology, media and telecoms conference, but, whatever it is, it’s even managed to draw a digital strategy from ITV.
Adam Crozier, who took over as ITV’s chief executive at the start of the year, told the conference yesterday that we were in the throes of the new digital changeover in which pay-TV operators, like Sky and Virgin in the UK, would begin to suffer as new internet-meets-TV services like YouView in the UK and Apple TV supplant them.
Instead of paying for things you don’t want to get what you do (as you do with Sky and Virgin packages), said Crozier, in the new TV age you would get most your telly for free (via YouView for example) and then pay on top for what you really want.
And ITV is working on a way of installing a micropayment mechanism on its website already.
This begs a number of questions such as, what does ITV have that people would pay extra for? But, if what he suggests does occur, it will threaten the comfy business model at Sky and Virgin which forces customers to pay for lots of stuff they don’t need.
This may well account for their vehement opposition to the introduction of YouView, the all-singing and dancing digital successor to Freeview supported by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and BT among others.
Sky and Virgin both claimed that YouView would stifle innovation but it seems that innovation is precisely what they fear.