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YouView: The future of TV

From concept to consumer, through high performance delivery.


YouView launched to the British public in the summer of 2012 with the stated goal of bringing ‘extraordinary TV for everyone’. It is set to become the new way to watch TV for millions of people who don’t want to pay a subscription. It is also seen by many as the evolution of existing free-to-air digital TV in the UK. But it’s much more; nothing short, in fact, of the future of television and the beginning of an industry transformation.

In less than four years, YouView has undergone an astonishing transformation in a rapidly changing marketplace, progressing from its roots in research and development to a collaborative multi-partner consortium as ‘Project Canvas’, and then on to a fully fledged independent company.

YouView’s brand launch in September 2010 fired the starting-gun on a period of headlong expansion and transformation, which has seen the company evolve rapidly while developing a complex and sophisticated delivery ecosystem, a process that has required the precise integration of a wide range of partners and third parties.

There can be few better examples anywhere in the TV and communications industry of leading players collaborating around a ‘big idea’ R&D project in order to deliver product to the consumer as well as a new set of services into a dynamic and evolving industry.


YouView today is an autonomous company formed from a consortium of seven partners, including the UK’s main terrestrial broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5), two ISPs (BT and TalkTalk), and a network services provider, Arqiva. YouView has not been created to generate profits in its own right, but rather to be the heart of a commercial ecosystem. To achieve this goal it has established itself as a separate business from its consortium partners.

The organisational complexity of creating this new type of business was reflected by the rapid growth in its internal headcount and external partnerships. Having started out with a workforce consisting of a handful of talented BBC broadcast engineers, YouView now has a global pool of specialists, together with its own values, management structures and independent governance, all housed under one roof. Creating YouView has required deep skills and experience in organisational design, stakeholder management, change and journey management.

Alongside moulding and shaping an organisation that has multiple partners and contributing third parties, developing the technical platform for YouView presented a need to manage, align and integrate a series of highly complex and interdependent initiatives and technologies. To deliver its vision, YouView must work on a multitude of different technology devices, and integrate and operate with platforms from content providers and ISPs. That’s in addition to being able to accommodate new content and technology partners as the service evolves. All this has involved ensuring that many different parallel strands of activity are progressing effectively together throughout development, into delivery and beyond in operations.

Designing and delivering a technology platform in a multi-partner, multi-technology ecosystem with so many different ‘moving parts’ was a formidable task. Overcoming these problems has demanded a wide range of industry, technical and operational capabilities – that Accenture has been able to provide.


The opportunity to facilitate the creation of a whole new business – especially one that will redefine an entire industry, is an exciting challenge. That is precisely what Accenture was able to do with YouView, working as a key partner to drive the product through from concept to launch, delivering an operating model, and helping to create a capability to evolve the platform post-launch.

As YouView transformed from an R&D focused organisation to a fully fledged delivery organisation, Accenture was asked to play an increasingly central role in the realisation of YouView’s delivery vision. While YouView developed its own specialist and skilled team, it turned to Accenture to help shape and drive forward the programme to launch.

Accenture’s responsibilities grew to overall technology delivery management, delivery of the content discovery platform, platform and ecosystem testing, content partner integration, and device manufacturer engagement. Accenture’s experience of taking a concept from innovation to reality was tested to the limit in effectively driving this entire ecosystem to a successful delivery outcome under immense market pressures.


At the time of launch, Accenture’s successful delivery for YouView was exemplified through three early indicators of success.

The first: overwhelmingly positive feedback from 2,500 consumers during the Beta testing phase.

The second: building momentum and confidence from the media and industry analysts. Leading industry analysts hailed YouView as the transformational vehicle that IPTV in the UK has been waiting for, helping to drive the industry rapidly forward.1 The consumer electronics press has been equally enthusiastic, with many awarding the product five-star reviews describing YouView as “Simply the best EPG of any Freeview HD PVR, a responsive box and neatly integrated on-demand TV”2 and “a breath of fresh air in the PVR market. The user interface is smart in every sense, and overall performance is high. This is 21st century TV done right.”3

And the third, and most important, was the initial reaction from customers, and a surge of retail demand. In the first weekend after YouView launched it was already available in all of the major retailers and many independent stores.

With the product successfully launched, Accenture continues to work closely with YouView to drive forward development and rollout of the new service. That includes running the content discovery platform through to 2014 and supporting YouView with development and testing services to deliver exciting and innovative new features of a product roadmap designed to keep pushing YouView forward at pace, securing its industry lead at the forefront of connected TV in the UK.

1 Source: Enders Analysis report 2012-069.