Sky is to launch a new screen proposition that will combine its Sky Mobile offer with the Sky Player catch-up TV service. A number of services, paid and unpaid, are already available for subscribers to access content on the go. Linear content has been streamed to mobile devices since 2005 and Sky now plans to bring them all together under a single pricepoint.
“This is a new way to enjoy Sky content, whenever and however you want,” Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch told an analyst call following the satcaster’s financials for the quarter ending December 31. “We know that access to Sky across many different devices is becoming increasingly important to our customers and with an explosion in sales of tablets and smartphones predicted I think it is a great opportunity for us.”
Sky is already the leading provider of content to mobile devices in the UK with over 11 million apps downloaded to date and in December of the 15 top mobile apps in the UK, five were from Sky.
Sky Anywhere will be assisted in the delivery of its content through the acquisition of The Cloud, which Darroch said would give customers a reliable and high quality access at thousands of access, while providing out of home access to Sky Broadband subscribers.
A new Sky News iPad application has been released that Darroch said would provide a richer storytelling experience, closer to that provided by the channel itself. “Unlike other news apps that repurpose existing feeds, Sky News will offer bespoke content optimised for the touch screen.” He added that users would even be able to rewind live video mimicking the Sky+ experience.
Sky has also completed a major rewrite of the software in its Sky+ HD boxes. Darroch said the move represented the first comprehensive ‘tidy-up’ of the middleware since the digital platform launched in 1998 and was one of the benefits of bringing set-top box development in house.
“This will allow us to add new services to the customer without swapping out their hardware,” said Darroch. “Because it’s got a more modular structure we’ll also be able to increase the pace of innovation going forward.” This includes the HD Swap Bouquet that will put the majority of high definition channels in the slots held by their SD counterparts – but only on HD boxes. Other examples include the Sky Anytime+ VOD service that Darroch said would include HBO content shown on new launch Sky Atlantic.
The update also includes the new 3D EPG reported by Broadband TV News last week.