Advanced Television

Sky: ‘Roku deal shows our innovative edge’

May 21, 2015

By Colin Mann

The launch by Sky Italia of the Sky Online TV box is the latest success to come out of Sky’s partnership and investment in US tech company, Roku, according to Emma Lloyd, Business Development Director, writing in the company blog.

“Roku is a great example of how Sky works with Silicon Valley-based companies. In fact, the success of this partnership led us to set up an office in San Francisco. We have collaborated with and invested in many other tech companies since, particularly start-ups,” she advises.

“Sky has a very strong in-house R&D capability but we also embrace new technologies that are brought to market by other tech leaders, especially if they are outside of Sky’s traditional areas of expertise. Partnering and collaborating with other innovators brings new ideas and expertise to the business,” she says.

“When we wanted to launch a low-cost, high-value offering – NOW TV – to target new customer segments, we looked to Roku the leading streaming platform in the United States. The company was already popular with consumers as well as a huge mass of content partners on the Roku App Store.  Leveraging the existing Roku platform offered Sky the benefit of deploying an already proven and scalable platform with millions of units sold,” she reveals.

“The box Roku created for Sky means we can deliver NOW TV to virtually any broadband household in the UK. By working with Roku, we dramatically reduced time to market which enabled us to capitalise on the growing demand for internet TV. NOW TV is available on over 60 devices but the box is by far the most popular way to watch it,” she notes.

“Our partnership with Roku was based on a commercial relationship supported by an equity investment to help them grow. This is the model we have taken to Silicon Valley. A partnership approach means that the companies can continue to grow and evolve outside of Sky. Sky benefits from Roku’s position in the US, the world’s most competitive market. It means regular updates to the system as the platform continues to evolve,” she adds.

“For their part, Roku were able to expand into the UK market as well as grow beyond just consumer sales. NOW TV was the first time they had licensed their platform to someone else and led them to launching the ‘Roku Powered’ strand to their business. Roku is now offering the Roku Powered licensing programme to companies all over the world including working with Sky in Germany and Italy,” she reveals.

“The collaboration with Roku is a great example of how Sky maintains its innovative edge. With many more partnerships with exciting young companies in Silicon Valley, we’re excited to see what the future may deliver for Sky and our customers. Now the three Skys have come together, we can more easily roll out products developed in one territory to millions of customers across Europe,” she concludes.

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