Pay TV venture failed to hit subscriber target

Dan Marks, the former U.K. Universal topper, is quitting as CEO of the underperforming paybox BT Vision.

When Marks was hired more than five years ago to spearhead the telco’s move into TV, much was expected of a venture that combined a traditional pay offering with video-on-demand.

But the service’s ambitions to rival U.K. pay giant BSkyB have remained unfulfilled. Since bowing in December 2006, BT Vision has signed up just 500,000 customers.

The company admits that it will be “challenging” to achieve its target of between 2 million and 3 million subscribers by 2011.

Marks said he was frustrated by the inability of local regulators to curb BSkyB’s power in the sports rights market.

“Like others in the entertainment business, including Setanta (the failing Irish international sports broadcaster), there are tremendous obstacles to growth that flow from Sky’s dominance of the U.K. pay TV market,” he said.

Marks, who leaves BT at the end of the month, will be replaced by his deputy, Marc Watson.

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