Sky has entered the internet TV arena with the launch of a new service called Now TV. With streaming services available on PC, Mac and selected Android handsets, the service puts Sky, and owners BSkyB, in direct competition with streaming giants Netflix and Lovefilm.
Now TV subscribers will gain access to a range of Sky Movies content, including the service’s 11 channels and 600 movies. If movies alone aren’t enough to sway you, The Guardian reports that Now TV users will also be able to access other BSkyB content later in the year. This includes Sky Sports content, such as Premier League football, rugby, cricket and golfing tournaments, in addition to Sky1 and Sky Atlantic.
Stephen van Rooyen, BSkyB managing director of sales and marketing, said: “We are targeting the 13m non-pay TV households out there with a no commitment, no contract way of delivering Sky content they want in a dip in and dip out way. The whole idea is to have something ‘not Sky’, it is purposely designed to attract new customers.”
NowTV is available as a subscription or pay-as-you-view service. Subscribers can watch unlimited content for £15 a month, while less prolific viewers can expect to pay between 99p and £3.49 per film using the “pay and play” option.
With the new service, BSkyB are targeting consumers who avoid subscribing to costly cable packages, and offering them a more flexible option. Despite this, Now TV’s monthly fee is still three times higher than Netflix and LoveFilm’s cheapest packages.
Van Rooyen defended the company’s pricing, saying “The most important thing to look at is what the service is, the quality of what we are delivering, we don’t want to replicate what LoveFilm and Netflix have done. We offer around 75% of the top 100 box office movies, and have rights to offer films a year before rivals – the value is in the premium quality we have.”
Although the service is only currently available on a limited number of gadgets, BSkyB have announced plans to roll out further versions for iPhone, iPad, Xbox and even PlayStation 3. It will also be available via YouView, a new service that combines Freeview with online content.