Dan Marks Resigns as CEO of Hybrid IPTV Service, BT Vision

--Cites Frustration with Sky's Dominance of Premiership Soccer, Project Canvas Delays

In a surprise development, Dan Marks has announced his resignation as CEO of BT Vision, UK incumbent telco BT's Microsoft Mediaroom-powered, interactive TV-enabled hybrid IPTV service (note: the service is enabled via a hybrid set-top box that allows viewers to access linear channels from the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview, alongside IP-delivered on-demand and interactive content). He is expected to leave at the end of the month, and will be replaced by his deputy, Marc Watson.

According to a report in the UK newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, Marks's resignation was due to his frustration with UK satellite-TV provider BSkyB's dominance of Premiership soccer coverage, which he blames for BT Vision's to-date anemic take-up: the service, which, when it launched in December 2006, was projected by Marks to have up to 3 million subscribers by 2010, currently has fewer than 500,000. "I'm leaving BT Vision in a good position, but there are clearly some very big issues with pay-TV," Marks told the newspaper. "There is frustration across BT that [UK communications regulator] Ofcom has failed to engage the dominance of Sky in live Premiership football. Just look at what has happened with Setanta [the Irish sports programmer which is about to go into administration]."

Marks is also reported to have been frustrated by the delays in implementing Project Canvas, a joint over-the-top venture between BT, the BBC, and commercial broadcaster ITV, that seeks to develop a common standard and interface for the delivery of online catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer and the ITV player, as well as other Internet-based VOD services, to broadband-connected set-top boxes (note: the BBC Trust, the body responsible for public oversight of the BBC, recently announced that it needed more information before it could decide whether to give Project Canvas the green light--see article published on itvt.com, June 5th).

UK/Ireland