Sky moves to ditch the dish

UK premium TV and video content provider Sky has indicated it wants to allow access to all its services over broadband, hence removing the need for a satellite dish.

The statement was made during Sky’s latest quarterly earnings announcement, in which Group Chief Exec Jeremy Darroch said he plans to introduce ‘Sky over fibre’ in Italy and its first all-IP service in Austria, both of which remove the need to bolt a great big plate to the side of your house.

There are already many opportunities to get Sky content over a regular broadband connection, with the Now TV option of cherry-picking families of Sky content on a rolling monthly contract apparently proving popular. In a bid to make it even more so Sky is launching the Now TV Stick – a USB dongle you can plug into your telly to make the magic happen.

Lastly there were a bunch of announcements regarding investment in original programming, including the launch of Sky Cinema Original Films (not Movies, note). This indicates that Sky increasingly considers itself in competition with Amazon, Netflix, etc, rather than terrestrial broadcasters.

“Increasing investment in its own Sky original productions is sensible in light of its recent successes, and its efforts to reduce churn in the UK are resonating with users in part due to Sky VIP which has attracted 1.4m users,” said Paolo Pescatore, Analyst at CCS Insight.

“All eyes are now firmly on the Premier League rights auction. Sky cannot afford to lose its prized assets. Therefore, it must ensure to at least secure the similar packages it has today. However, the channel sharing agreement with BT helps both parties somewhat in the distribution of sports channels to their customers.

“The Now TV streaming stick is big news. Sky is looking to jump on the bandwagon of this segment given the popularity of these small form factor devices. People will be blown away with the price of the new Now TV streaming stick as well as the bundles (stick and passes).

“And let’s not forget the slew of new features, which in our opinion will strongly resonate with users; such as voice control, pause live TV and full HD for the first time on a Now TV product.

This will be a key product ahead of the summer months, when the new EU content portability changes come into effect.”

Dropping the dish, improving its SVOD and general IP content offering and investing heavily in original content all smacks of taking the fight to the big internet players. It’s easy to see a future when linear, as opposed to on-demand, TV is an obscure niche. The only type of content people will continue to feel compelled to watch at specific times will be live events such as football matches. Everything else will move to the Netflix model.

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