Has YouView Got Momentum?

In marketing alliances, Momentum is the engine that drives the initiative and decides whether parties can extract the value they need.

You can never underestimate the power of ‘the Big Mo’. In 2000 Malcolm Gladwell wrote his classic The Tipping Point – spreading the belief that ‘ideas and transformation spread like viruses’. A good alliance, also needs to reach a Tipping Point, with the three elements identified by Gladwell; Contagiousness, Little Causes & Big Effects and – Dramatic Change. In marketing alliances, Momentum is the engine that drives these elements. Without momentum new relationships enter a lethargic spiral and there never is a Tipping Point…

Of course, marketing alliances need the right foundations – the Fit (in terms of market, brand, culture, people) and the right Planning (leadership, objectives etc.) too. But, lots of projects that look great on paper and in meetings go nowhere. Without the ‘Big Mo’, the best laid plans don’t even have a chance go astray. They go nowhere. Without driven, positive and systematic progress any marketing partnership, no matter how well-intentioned and logical – will fail. To coin Godin’s phrase  – they ‘don’t ship’. Following the story of YouView recently, I’m wondering – has this whole project really got enough Momentum? On paper, YouView appears one of the most exciting media alliances for years, combining the content and technical resources of BBC, Channel 5, ITV, BT and Talk-Talk to create a set-top box that enables perfect streaming of television back catalogue. It has the potential to be the perfect addition to Freeview and compete against Sky and Virgin. It even has the mighty Apprentice wizard, Lord Surralan himself – Lord Alan Sugar as Chairman. But YouView is showing a chronic lack of Momentum.  The latest reports (see below) refer to beta testing in 2011 with the aim of a roll out for London 2012. To put this into perspective, it was originally scheduled to launch in mid-2010. This was revised to Christmas 2010. And then later, to Q1 2011. And now, London Olympics – 2012.  With an alliance involving this many parties the danger is the gradual loss of leadership enthusiasm that can slowly create a negative spiral. Like water being sucked down the plug-hole, a lack of Momentum drains the powerful partnership enthusiasm away. The YouView alliance partners must be feeling the pull of the plug-hole.  It is reported that the partners have a ‘drop-clause’ which allows them to walk away from the alliance if nothing is in the market by the end of 2011. Where is the Big Mo? One of the smart things that Apple and Sony do is release and publicise their fantastic new technologies, even when they’re not 100% perfect. Sony PlayStation, iPhone and iPad were delivered,sometimes with flaws and gaps – and then quickly refined. They built interest  in the minds of consumers, retail channels, the media and crucially the support of their software and content partners. And this momentum created a new wave of interest that powered the  later versions past the interest of early adopters. YouView needs runs on the board, a sign of the potential, an example of what the alliance can achieve, to whet the appetite, enthuse the confidence not just in the consumer and the media but within and across the YouView alliance family itself. Because if you really want a marketing alliance this exciting to work – you need the Big Mo.

For more information see this article in NMA. Or these related articles and backgrounders;

Author: Andrew Armour

Andrew Armour is a marketing and media professional, a specialist in business partnerships and the Founder of the consulting business - Benchstone Limited. His career spans from the UK music industry to the America's Cup, from winning agency pitches to securing key digital content deals. He is married to Viv, lives in Hampshire and works in London.

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