Mike Darcey, BSkyB’s COO, has admitted the pay-TV operator’s planned OTT service ‘Now TV’ could be carried on open IPTV platform YouView, scheduled for launch later in the summer of 2012. Although BSkyB had expressed concern that public money had been used to support a project for which he felt the market should determine a need, Darcey said that Sky would assess the situation after YouView’s launch as to whether NOW TV could be carried on the platform.
He also admitted that Sky was struggling to catch up with consumer demand for digital innovation. “A few years ago, with the launch of Sky+ for example, we were ahead of the consumer. Nobody knew they wanted it, but we did. We’re no longer ahead of the consumer however, expectations are huge,” he said.
Addressing the topic of the Marriage of Content and Innovation at the Future of Entertainment Summit in London, Darcey said that although Sky was ahead when it comes to content, the innovation around that content was “a really tough sector”, such as responding to customers who had asked: ‘Why can’t I take a recorded show from my TV and watch it on my iPad?’. “ Our response is simply because it’s hard – that kind of innovation is really, really difficult,” admitted Darcey.
He suggested that wireless would play a significant role in the way Sky content was consumed in the future, pointing to BSkyB’s acquisition of WiFi provider The Cloud. “It will be an important part of the story,” he said. Although Sky had been at the forefront of mobile TV as far back as 2005, he admitted that services had been “clunky” and had been rescued by WiFi and Apple, with the iPad. “We’re convinced wireless is key going forward, even with 4G,” he stated.
Darcey predicted that consumer demand for mobile viewing would increase even further with the launch of NOW TV.