Alan Sugar Appointed Chairman Of YouView | Will The Apprentice Star Deliver Set-Top Box?

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YouView-LogoYouView is turning into a bit of a nightmare, with objections from rival broadcasters, budget concerns, and continual delays. Who can possibly sort this mess out? Lord Alan Sugar, of course, a man known for taking no prisoners.



is the BBC-backed set-top box and connected-TV platform that rose from the ashes of Project Kangaroo. In essence YouView will combine the existing Freeview with on-demand and social networking elements to bring TV bang up-to-date. If it ever arrives, that is.

February of this year brought news that YouView was being delayed until 2012, possibly even after the Olympic Games in London. For a product that was originally due to be released in 2010, this is bad news, especially as the reasons for the latest delay were “technical problems and rumored discord between the partners.”

Still, there’s always hope, right?

Alan Sugar = Savior?

Alan Sugar is many things: star of The Apprentice, millionaire, businessman, Lord, bearded bully. But will he be able to add savior of YouView to his list of achievements?

Sugar was appointed non-executive chairman of the company this week as replacement for the outgoing Kip Meek, who departed YouView after just eight months in charge.

Meek said:

“It has been apparent for some time that the YouView board would benefit from additional expertise in consumer marketing and technology delivery. Lord Sugar clearly supplies this. As the venture progresses towards launch, the change in Chairman makes sense. I wish Lord Sugar well.”

Meanwhile, Lord Dunstone, Chairman of TalkTalk, one of those companies partnering on YouView, commented on behalf of the shareholders:

“Lord Sugar’s experience in delivering set top box technology to the consumer is unrivalled and we are delighted that he will be with us as we introduce a new, enhanced television experience to homes across the UK. As we move from the development to the delivery stage I can’t think of anyone better placed to help bring YouView to market than Lord Sugar.”

Lord Sugar now has the responsibility squarely on his shoulders of bringing the YouView set-top box to market in a speedy and efficient manner. Which, for the reasons previously noted, isn’t going to be a smooth ride. Especially now that the project has lost any momentum it was once building.

For those not aware of what experience Sugar has in this sector, his company became the leading supplier of set-top boxes for BSkyB, so much so that the latter bought Amstrad outright in 2007. but experience doesn’t necessarily equate to success.


While I was at one time a big advocate for YouView, I’m now starting to doubt whether this will be the platform of the future. Mainly because technology moves so quickly these days that the two-year delay in launching could prove fatal. As for Alan Sugar? I fear saving YouView is even beyond his powers, though I hope to be proved wrong.

[Via The Telegraph]

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