Catch-up content from the BBC and ITV will be made available in Sky homes during 2012. All five million homes with the Sky+ HD box will be able to connect their boxes to Sky Anytime+ through the internet, regardless of whether they have chosen one of Sky’s own broadband packages.
It means the number of households receiving Sky Anytime+ will increase from one million to around five million homes. The initial upgrade will happen around Easter with the iPlayer being added later in the year.
The agreement also follows changes to the BBC’s controversial syndication policy that sought to ensure platforms were unable to cherry-pick content from the BBC library. Broadband TV News understands the agreement was made under the existing 2007 agreement, but it would also adhere to the provisional 2011 guidelines amended late last year.
Sky subscribers will be presented with an app that will take them to the BBC iPlayer, which while varying in appearance to some of the other implementations, will still be firmly in the BBC’s colours.
“Having the BBC and Sky work together to further build on the BBC iPlayer success story can only be fantastic news for audiences. Making BBC iPlayer available on all platforms is key to our commitment to universal access and this agreement takes us one step further towards that goal. I’m delighted to take this first step on a story of innovation for both organisations.”
In recent months Sky has seen a notable increase in the number of subscribers using Sky Anytime+, which has seen weekly usage increase by 80% in the three months to December 2011. Customers connect their receivers to the internet either wirelessly or through an Ethernet cable.
“We want customers to get the best out of their Sky subscription and Anytime+ is a great way to give them more control and choice over how they enjoy TV. We already know how popular Sky+ is and how it puts customers back in charge of their TV viewing. Anytime+ builds on that control and it’s no wonder we’ve seen such strong demand for it,” said Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch.
A number of third-party channels have already made their content available through Sky Anytime+. These include MTV, Discovery, FX, History, Disney, UK TV and National Geographic Channel.
Already the BBC iPlayer is available across a variety of platforms, including the majority of TV services, Virgin Media, BT Vision, and an increasing number of Freeview and Freesat boxes. It has also pursued connected games consoles, mobile phones and tablets.