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March 21, 2012updated 22 Aug 2016 1:01pm

Sky launches internet TV offering to battle Netflix, LoveFilm

Sky has announced its first Internet TV offering NOW TV today.

By Allan Swann

Sky today unveiled its new internet TV service that will allow users to access its movies and sport through any broadband internet capable device. It will compete with rival offerings from Google TV, Apple TV and video streaming services such as LoveFilm and Netflix.

The new brand was revealed this morning by Sky’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Darroch, as he delivered the opening keynote at the Media Guardian Changing Media Summit in London.

"[NOW TV] will be available on a wide range of devices and offer instant access to a range of high quality Sky content, with no install and no contract. Starting with movies, it will soon expand to offer sport and entertainment as well. And customers will be able to pay monthly or rent a movie on a simple, pay as you go basis," said Darroch.

The major pay TV operators have struggled to compete with video on demand offerings from Netflix and LoveFilm, many of which offer all you eat packages for £5-7 per month, to either stream video to mobile devices, computers and video game consoles or to deliver DVDs in the mail. For selective viewers, this makes more sense than paying £30+ for Sky TV. NOW TV appears to be Sky’s attempt to plug this market hole.

"As the quality of the TV experience over broadband has improved, people have become more willing to consume content in different ways. That presents a great opportunity to distribute our programmes which wasn’t there even a year or two ago," he said.

"With the long-awaited explosion of connected devices now upon us, this opportunity is only going to grow. And it’s something we believe is highly complementary to our existing service. Today, we know that around 13 million homes don’t yet take pay TV from any provider. So we can reach out to them and offer them another way to access and watch our content," he said.

NOW TV will have no minimum contract, a nod to the aforementioned Netflix and Amazon rivals. For example, customers will be able to pay monthly for unlimited access to Sky Movies or rent a single movie on a pay-as-you-go basis.

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This offering will supplement the company’s video on demand ‘push’ TV service, Sky Anytime+, which also uses broadband and supplements existing Sky+ TV subscriptions for an extra cost.

Sky recently buried the hatchet with the BBC, allowing iPlayer to appear on its systems; previously was only available on Sky’s Pay TV rivals, Virgin Media and BT Vision. This follows Sky’s recent pragmatic approach to its Pay TV operations, attempting to see off its aforementioned Internet TV rivals before they get a strong foothold in the market.

– Sky Movies will be available from launch and will expand to offer sport and entertainment soon afterwards.
– No minimum contract, all you can eat or a pay per view model.
– It will support PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, games consoles and internet enabled TVs.

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