Eircom hires digital-media guru to drive its TV strategy

21 Oct 2008

Eircom has hired one of the UK’s leading digital-media strategists and the former director of technology strategy for BT Vision to head up an ambitious plan to roll out digital TV services across Ireland next year.

The incumbent operator has hired Richard Griffiths as director of TV and entertainment services. Griffiths is one of the UK’s leading broadband strategists and digital-media gurus.

As well as having directed for the BBC, Channel 4 and GMTV, he has authored a book on video journalism.

He is also good friends with celebrities such as Jonathan Ross, Kylie Minogue, Richard E Grant and Bob Geldof, to name a few.

Speaking with siliconrepublic.com on the future of digital TV and video on demand, Griffiths said that the aim is to provide subscribers with set-top boxes that will also come combined with wireless home networking solutions.

“Next year will be a very exciting year for Irish consumers. The catch-up TV revolution will mean you won’t have a heart attack if you forget to set the video recorder for Eastenders.”

Griffiths said that Eircom is examining a number of ways of delivering TV to living rooms, either by streaming or by progressive download, such as with the BBC iPlayer or the Apple TV where you select the programming you want, hit play and wait until all the content is present.

“The digital TV viewers will allow viewers to time-shift. They can start watching a programme in one room or continue watching it somewhere else. Also, why not organise what you want to watch later on your mobile phone?

“The move to digital TV is the most exciting thing to happen to television since colour came along. People are going to have a lot more choice. Unlike the last 50 years, they will fit TV around their lives, rather than fitting their lives around the box,” Griffiths said.

A fundamental aspect of the forthcoming Eircom service will be video on demand.

“Video on demand is the killer app that will change viewer behaviour. You can watch anything you want out of the library. How do you change viewer behaviour when they are just plonked watching something someone else has decided for them? You have to make it simple and present video on demand in such a way that the viewer has control.”

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Richard Griffiths, director of TV and entertainment services, Eircom

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years