In a landmark agreement Virgin Media is to add content from Sky Anytime to its on demand service. The package includes several thousand hours of films, series, sport and news.
At a stroke the amount of VOD content on offer from the UK cablenet – already the largest collection of on demand content in Britain – will increase by a third to over 6,500 hours.
Customers will now have access to Sky content in line with their existing TV package. No additional costs are involved.
The Sky Movies Collection will put in place 500 movie titles that will sit alongside existing movie content sources that include FilmFlex, PictureBox and Virgin Media Player. The Sky Sports Collection will give access to highlights from Barclays Premier League, UEFA Champions League football, international cricket and European Tour Golf.
Movies have become the latest area of attention for the Competition Commission, which in August found Sky’s control over pay-TV movie rights in the UK is restricting competition between pay-TV providers, leading to higher prices and reduced choice and innovation for subscribers.
One of the Commission’s proposals to a consultation that closed September 16 was for Sky to face “must retail” measures requiring it to acquire on a wholesale basis and offer to its subscribers any movie channel containing first subscription pay-TV window (FSPTW) movie content.
Sky Anytime on Virgin Media has already commenced rollout, initially for customers on Virgin Media’s big basic XL TV tier who will have instant access to popular from Sky1, Sky Living, Sky Arts and Sky News, and in HD where available. From early 2012 selected programmes from these channels will also be made available to M+ TV customers and above through Sky Anytime on Virgin Media.
A range of On Demand content from Sky’s channels will also be made available in the coming weeks online through the Virgin Media Player service.