BSkyB confirmed it has bought UK WiFi network The Cloud from its investor, DFJ Esprit, and that it use it “to allow easy access to Sky content on multiple devices in and out of home”, via a new service, Sky Anywhere, that will launch in October.
Sky said The Cloud “complements existing broadband and mobile services”. No acquisition price was given, but chief financial officer, Andrew Griffith, said that the deal was “firmly” under £50 million in value.
The Cloud, which has 50,000 WiFi hotspots in Britain, will be a backbone Sky will use to deliver its TV services to customers on mobiles and tablets.
Sky Anywhere will let Sky subscribers watch their TV bouquets whilst on the move. It had already offered some subscription channels to iPhone and iPad as a distinct pay-for service, but now wants to align these offerings with its core subscription proposition.
Griffith said that particularly since the arrival of Apple’s iPad, the company had found “very strong usage of our entertainment content, news and sports outside the home,” with Sky Anywhere aiming to “bring it all together” for those accessing on the move. Sky Anywhere will also combine access to the existing Sky Player and Sky Mobile TV services.