DTT/VOD service has 640,000 homes signed up

The U.K.’s under-performing paybox BT Vision may finally be gaining momentum, thanks in part to on-demand U.S. fare.

The digital terrestrial and broadband service, owned by local telco BT, said it added 41,000 subscribers in the last quarter — its best figure for more than two years — bringing its total to 640,000.

But that’s still far behind the 10 million Brits that pay for BSkyB and the 3.76 million that subscribe to Virgin.

However, the fact that the straggler, which bowed in 2007, added so many subs compared with BSkyB’s 26,000, is a milestone for BT Vision.

CEO Marc Watson said, “It’s the first time we have beaten Sky since launch and we have added more customers than Sky and Virgin Media combined. It’s very encouraging but we are not getting carried away. We are a young business with a lot to do.”

BT Vision recently bowed a subscription film service, driven by fare from Warner Bros., Universal and the U.K.’s Film 4, plus on-demand channels from ABC and Warner Bros.

Movies include “Green Lantern” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

Watson said the on-demand services had seen strong growth with viewers watching, on average, 46 or 47 shows per month in addition to their regular TV viewing.

BT is one of the partners in the BBC-led YouView connected TV consortium, whose launch is due sometime next year following numerous delays.

There has been speculation that BT Vision might pre-empt YouView by bowing a set-top box that could compete directly with the service.

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