With 2012 seeing increased competition in the UK pay-TV and online television sector, including the January launch of Netflix, and the anticipated late spring launch of YouView, Sky has today announced a series of enhancements to its video on demand service, Sky Anytime+, aimed at expanding the choice of programmes available for customers and make it available to millions of homes for the first time.
The move follows strong growth for Sky Anytime+, which is already in more than a million Sky homes and has seen weekly usage increase by 80 per cent in the three months to 31 December 2011.
The enhancements form part of Sky’s commitment to bring more value to customers through their subscription. Sky Anytime+ comes at no extra charge and already provides access to a wide range of on-demand content including movies, entertainment, documentaries and drama ‘box sets’. In addition to programmes from Sky’s own channels, it offers access to content from partner channels such as MTV, Discovery, FX, History, Disney, UK TV and National Geographic Channel.
To expand the range of high-quality content available on Sky Anytime+, Sky has reached new agreements with the BBC and ITV.
This means that ITV archive content, including popular shows such as Prime Suspect, Lewis and Cold Feet, will join the service from January 31, accessible through the main Sky Anytime+ menu, as well as a new dedicated ITV Player section. And later in 2012, customers will be able to use Sky Anytime+ to catch up on programmes from both the BBC and ITV when the BBC iPlayer joins the service and more programming is added to ITV Player.
Archive BBC content – including the likes of Doctor Who, Outnumbered and Top Gear – is already available on Sky Anytime+ through Sky’s existing deal with UK TV.
Sky is also extending the reach of Sky Anytime+ by making it available to all Sky+HD homes with an Internet connection, across all broadband providers. This means more than five million homes will soon be able to access the comprehensive video on demand service. The extension of the service builds on the 1.2 million Sky Broadband homes that already use the service.
Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Chief Executive, said the operator wanted customers to get the best out of their Sky subscription, describing Anytime+ as a “great way” to give them more control and choice over how they enjoy TV. He suggested that the addition of the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player would allow customers to also enjoy the best of terrestrial TV, whenever they wanted. “We’re also delighted to be able to widen access to the service so that millions more Sky customers can enjoy the added flexibility it offers,” he added.