Sky confirms Sky Q over IP launch, ramps up original production, debuts HD Now TV

posted on Friday, 26th January 2018 by Steve May

Sky Q  Streaming  Broadcast 

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Sky has announced more details about its plans to launch an IP-delivered iteration of its Sky Q platform. The service will launch in Austria later this year, according to the broadcaster’s latest set of financial results. There’s no news of a UK launch, but this would seem unlikely before 2019. The company has also reported a 5 per cent increase in like-for-like revenue to £6.7 billion, and now boasts 22.9 million subscribers. 

“Operationally we’ve seen good customer demand for our products and services,” says Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive. “We now have almost 23 million customers taking 61.7 million paid-for-products and making 20 million pay-as-you-go buys in six months. In addition, we have made further strong progress on operational efficiency, keeping operating costs flat in absolute terms.”

Of the proposed IP service launch launch, Darroch says: “In innovation, we are constantly improving our customers’ experience and making it easier for them to take Sky. We recently launched Sky Q in Italy and will roll out the service to Germany and Austria in the next six months. We will also introduce Sky over fibre in Italy and our first all IP service in Austria, both without the need for a satellite dish.”

Interestingly, there's no news about an HDR upgrade to its 4K services though,

Sky is also introducing a new Now TV streaming stick (pictured), which will retail for £15. The new stick supports 1080p HD streams. Sky plans to migrate all its territories onto a common OTT platform, saying it will provide a step-change in capability, including enhanced personalisation and downloading functionality. The Roku-powered HDMI stick comes with a remote featuring Voice Search. It can be purchased for £20 with a two-month Now TV Entertainment Pass, or one month Sky Cinema Pass, or a one-month Sky Sports Pass for £30.

The Now TV stick also offers catch-up from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4, alongside a choice of other apps including YouTube, Sky Store and Vevo. Netflix and Amazon Video are not included. Sky’s Now TV service will debut on BT TV set top boxes in 2019.

Sky is also expanding its original production, but at the expense of sports and world cinema. “We will grow our investment in Sky Originals every year and we expect, overtime, to be spending less on second tier sports, linear only entertainment channels and niche movies,” says Darroch. “In 2018 we’ll showcase over 50 Sky Original productions across eight key genres, including four dramas a quarter across our territories. We are differentiating our programming to other services, with a distinct focus on creating content that is local to our key markets. Growing our Sky Original content investment means we can offer our customers local content with very high production values, something our research shows our customers value more than acquired content in many cases.”

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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