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The launch and enhancement of NOW TV, Sky’s subscription-free OTT streaming service, has enabled the operator to tap into new pockets of demand, according to Stephen Van Rooyen, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer.
Speaking at the Future of Broadcasting Conference in London, Van Rooyen said that the broadcaster has long since moved away from being considered a satellite operator, having embraced on demand and taken advantage of the increased flexibility available to viewers in terms of devices and platforms. “We now focus on getting on to as many platforms as possible,” he told delegates. Market segmentation had originally centred on a ‘pay premium’ strategy, on the basis that there was an audience who were willing to pay for more than a standard pay-TV service, such as PVR and HDTV. ‘Pay Light’ as exemplified by NOW TV, had been “a roaring success”, according to Van Rooyen. “It has attracted viewers who had previously rejected Sky,” he advised.
The coming months will see further enhancements to the service, with a new box, with greater processing power, among other refinements, a revised interface and the introduction of a monthly sport pass which would enable a viewer to watch a selected tournament, for instance.
The Month Pass will cost £31.99 with no commitment to subscribe and will be available in time for the kick-off of the new football season. Access to premium live sport is cited by customers as one of the main reasons they choose NOW TV. Customers currently have the choice of a day pass for £6.99 or a week pass for £10.99. Sports transactions have trebled with over 1 million reported in the last nine months.
The next generation NOW TV box will go on sale in August for £14.99 offering customers an even faster and smoother experience. It will follow the success of the original box, launched in July 2013 which quickly became the most popular way for customers to enjoy NOW TV over any other device. The new box will include an Ethernet port to support a wired as well as wireless connection and a processor that is five times faster.
Changes to the user interface will be rolled out across NOW TV supported devices over the coming months making it even quicker and easier for customers to get to the channels and content they want. Further updates will be rolled out later in the year which will include an improved search function as well as enabling customers to automatically play next episodes as well as the ability to easily tag, save and find favourite shows.