Advanced Television

Sky launches ‘Fluid Viewing’ Sky Q

November 18, 2015

By Colin Mann

Describing it as “the biggest reimagining of Sky in its history”, Jeremy Darroch, CEO of the UK pay-TV operator, has launched Sky Q, a family of products which it says are designed to reflect the way people consume content nowadays. It also confirmed that Sky Q would be UltraHD ready in advance of the launch of what Sky claimed would be the UK’s most comprehensive such service later in 2016, offering customers a range of sports, movies and entertainment content.

As well as a SkyQ set-top box to sit alongside the existing Sky+ box, a wireless Sky Q Mini will allow on-demand streaming, with a Sky Q app allowing personalisation of viewing across devices, with a Sky Q hub offering wireless connectivity. Andrew Olson, Director of New Products, described the initiative as offering “Fluid Viewing”.

Darroch said Sky Q was “a brilliant new way” for customers to consume content on their terms “It’s a system of products that work together to create a whole new way of watching TV.”

In addition, he said that Sky Q broadened the choice that Sky could offer its customers, as a new, premium option to complement its existing services. “It means we’re going to have a bigger and better range than ever before,” he claimed. He said that with Sky Q sitting alongside Sky+ and NOW TV, it made for three “outstanding and complementary” platforms.

He said that each was designed to meet the needs of different groups of customers, suggesting that Sky Q was an “all-new” option, offering the very best Sky experience. According to Darroch, this extension of choice was good news for the business. “We know from our experience that broadening out and innovating throughout our product range helps us to keep our customers happy and helps us to keep them loyal. For those who don’t yet have Sky, it is going to create a brilliant new reason to join in.”

Darroch said that his job was to obtain the best content form around the world and to use that content to make it easy for customers to access that content on their terms. He said that customers wanted it to be easy to navigate content and to find what they wanted to watch. “They want TV to be more flexible and more seamless across more screens, and most of all, they want it to be seamless and effortless.”

“In short, our ambition was to reimagine TV for the way people live their lives today, and result is SkyQ,” concluded Darroch, advising that it would be available to customers in the UK and Ireland from early 2016. Exact details of timing and pricing would be divulged nearer the time.

The new range of products introduced by Olson includes:

  • Sky Q Silver and Sky Q – two new super-slim, powerful boxes for the main TV set, featuring up to 12 tuners and up to 2TB of storage
  • Sky Q Mini – a new plug and play box giving wireless access to Sky Q in other rooms in the home without running cables from the dish
  • Sky Q Hub – the all new Hub has built in Powerline networking technology, so it can use in-home electrical wiring as well as Wi-Fi to communicate with Sky Q boxes, automatically giving the best connection available. The Sky Q Hub also turns Sky Q boxes into Wi-Fi hotspots which means Sky Broadband customers get a stronger signal and better coverage throughout the home
  • Sky Q app – a brand new app for your tablets that lets you enjoy all of the Sky Q experience at home, and take recordings with you and watch live and on demand content on the go

In addition to its range of broadcast content from around the world, Sky Q opens up access to an even wider range of content. Customers will be able to browse their Facebook photos and stream music wirelessly over their TV sound system with Bluetooth or Apple’s AirPlay. They can also catch up with the latest news and sport through interactive sidebar apps which are seamlessly integrated into the viewing experience. Sky Q will also allow viewers to watch their favourite videos from YouTube, watch on demand music videos from the new Vevo app and stream the best of the web to any TV connected to Sky Q or Sky Q Mini. Initial streaming partners include Condé Nast Entertainment including GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue and WIRED, GoPro, Jukin Media, Kin Community, Red Bull Media House and Whistle Sports with even more content creators to be added.

Stephen van Rooyen, Managing Director, Sales and Marketing, said that Sky’s embaracing of changes in customers’ viewing habits had enabled it to grow in new and different ways. “We’ve created the opportunity to reach new customers with the creation of a service like NOWTV and we’ve also made our existing products and services so much better, creating better loyalty for our existing customers.”

He suggested that in terms of market segmentation, there was an opprtunity for Sky to ‘superserve’ its customers and to attract new prospects who consume more content and more media on more devices than ever before. “It’s really for that media-centric consumer that we see both in our base and across the marketplace. And while Sky Q is really targeted at a very specific customer type, we think it will have a huge impact on creating a halo for the brand.”

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