It is with great sadness that we hear that UK IPTV innovator KiT (Kingston interactive TV) is to close its doors on 3rd April. We’ve always been huge fans of their work.
KiT was delivering IPTV, before most people who are now getting excited about the potential of delivering content over a network cable, even understood what IP stood for. How long back? 1999.
Kingston Telecom (KT), who own KiT has always been a unique proposition in the UK which has always been dominated (some would say crushed), by BT. KT was the only independent telecoms company in the UK, originally owned by the local council, Kingston Upon Hull, until it was floated in 1999.
It’s always struggled to get sufficient subscribers to support the service. Hull is an area with much financial deprivation with the average family income around £14,000/year. It’s understood that the high point of subscriptions, 10,000 at the start of the service, has lead to the current low point of 4,000. The level of financial loses and the need for KiT to refresh its now 7 year old IPTV kit is understood to have lead to the decision. The parent company, Kingston Communications (KC), feel that they can no longer justify supporting the service
Much important work has been done at KiT with many benefits from the results.
One exceptionally inspirational example was the work they did helping to turn around a failing school, Kingswood School, by getting parents and therefore their children more involved with the education provided, through technology. We covered the story back in June 2004.
Unknown to many, Blockbuster Video have been running a VoD trial on KiT for a couple of years. Their first in the world.
The BBC also benefited, after putting what we understand to be millions of pounds, into understanding how ultra local content works on IPTV over the KiT service.
About six months ago a very senior KiT person got in touch with us to say that they were up for sale.
One of the hopes had been that they would take their extensive IPTV experience, and roll it out over the UK.
There has been some wondering around the Digital-Lifestyles office if the delay in closing KiT has been a considered position by the KC. By waiting until now to close KiT, the rest of the world now realise that they all need to be in IPTV, and the number of potential purchasers will have increased.
Always one to identify a good buy, some are saying that Sky is interested in buying the remains of KiT. We understand from source inside KiT that this is unlikely, but in our view if they were to take on key members of staff, the purchaser would be getting their hands on very valuable experience. Skills like this would steer purchasers around many of the pot holes that IPTV can provide, potentially saving them millions of pounds.
We all hope that KiT, or at least its employees, have every success in the future.