Sky has announced plans for a “buy and keep” VOD service, which will allow users to download titles permanently.
The decision, revealed at the Guardian‘s Changing Media Summit this week, is part of an increasing focus upon digital and on-demand video at the company. Indeed, only this week, Sky gave its electronic programme guide a major overhaul to integrate its On Demand, Catch Up TV and Sky Store catalogue alongside its traditional TV channel listings.
The broadcaster introduced its subscription arm. NOW TV. in 2012, which was ranked 2013’s fastest-growing platform. At the end of last year, Sky then launched a pay-per-view shop, Sky Store, which allowed non-Sky customers to rent films from its library.
Now, it plans to offer a download-to-own service through the same shopfront. Indeed, digital media now accounts for a large chunk of the home entertainment market in the UK, with the ERA’s latest report revealing that online sales made up 60 per cent of 2013’s total home entertainment revenue.
Ownership models of payment remain the most popular overall, though, accounting for 74 per cent of sales – a sign that, while subscription services are growing rapidly, pay-per-view VOD is a large market to tap into,
Sky’s move puts it in direct competition with iTunes and blinkbox, as well as Google Play.
“Having made a strong start in rentals, we think we can go one step further and actually start offering customers the opportunity to purchase movies from us and keep them forever,” the company’s Chief Financial Officer Andrew Griffith told the paper.
“We think we are extremely well positioned to enter the market and take share.”
Indeed, the Sky Store will target existing Sky customers by offering a convenient place to purchase films digitally and store them on their boxes – circumventing the need for users to use another device to find content on Apple’s iTunes or Tesco’s blinkbox. They wouldn’t even have to change remotes.
The service is expected to launch in the coming weeks – pricing is yet to be confirmed.