TalkTalk hires TV director to show intent

UK ISP TalkTalk has poached Viasat’s Executive Vice President Laurence Miall-d’Août as its director of TV just ahead of its pay TV relaunch in the UK on the back of the YouView hybrid set top box. This signals TalkTalk’s intent to become a significant fourth force in UK pay-TV alongside satellite operator BSkyB, MSO Virgin Media, and hybrid IPTV/DTT operator BT Vision.

Miall-d’Août replaces Max Alexander, who has been promoted to executive director of innovation as of Jan. 1. Miall-d’Août will lead TalkTalk’s partnership with YouView, the DTT/OTT hybrid backed by UK broadcasters including the BBC and ITV, as well as rival BT (which, at the same time, is recasting its BT Vision service alongside YouView).

TalkTalk distributed YouView powered boxes to its customers in late September, bundling TV services with phone and broadband for £14.50 ($23) per month. The operator hired 500 engineers to assist with the roll out.

Miall-d’Août spent 10 years at Sweden’s Modern Times Group, which owns the Viasat international broadcaster operating across the Nordic and Baltic countries as well as Russia and some emerging markets. The key task for her now is to recruit as many as possible of TalkTalk’s existing 4 million phone and broadband subscribers to the new YouView TV service, some of which will currently have subscriptions with one of the other three pay-TV operators. This will require beefing up the operator’s content portfolio — the primary reason she was hired.

"Laurence is experienced in content partnerships and channel management and will be leading our partnership with YouView,” said Talk Talk’s executive commercial director Tristia Clarke.