Sky Movies is relaunching this July as Sky Cinema.
Sky’s movie platform has been a long-established part of its paid TV service, but has found itself increasingly competing with newer SVOD rivals such as Netflix in recent years. Now, it’s rebranding the service as Sky Cinema, emphasising both its exclusive window of release (8 months after theatrical) for most big studios’ titles and its HD on-demand offerings.
Indeed, Sky Cinema will be the “biggest dedicated movie subscription service” in Europe, as Sky’s movie services in Germany, Austria and Italy are also rebranded and relaunched under the new name.
It will kick off with SPECTRE on 8th July and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation on 9th July. Indeed, the new service will feature a new movie arriving every day of the week – up 75 per cent from the four per week currently offered by Sky Movies.
Overall, Sky will boost its on-demand line-up by 20 per cent to around 1,200 films, as customers increasingly choose to stream thing when they want. More than half of all the films watched on Sky are on-demand with 1 billion downloads or streams in the last two years alone.
Sky Cinema will be the exclusive home of Star Wars and many other blockbuster franchises including all the biggest films from the DC Comics and Marvel universes. The Force Awakens arrives in August 2016, so Sky customers can look forward to seeing all the films as the franchise continues to unfold including Rogue One (August 2017) and Episode VIII (August 2018).
For those who prefer to watch their movies on a linear basis at a prescribed time, though, Sky will continue its trend for pop-up channels, with at least one planned every month – including its Star Wars movie channel in August and September, featuring the entire Star Wars back catalogue and other themed programming. Others in the pipeline for the next six months include Disney-Pixac and Star Trek.
As well as pop up channels, Sky Cinema will feature more original programming such as interviews and film documentaries alongside coverage of movie events.
There will also be a dedicated World Cinema slot on Sky Movies every Wednesday at 10pm.
Regardless of how you use Sky Movies, whether live, on-demand or through NOW TV, Sky is also bumping up the visual quality of its movies with new, improved HD as standard to all Sky Cinema customers on the Sky and Virgin Media platforms.
On-demand films will have better sound quality, while Sky will also introduce an iPlayer-style Restart feature for live broadcasts, which means customers can watch films from the very beginning no matter what point they switch on.
To improve the HD, Sky is using a new internal master format that provides a third more pixels and four times the number of colour shades of the current HD offered. This means sharper and more vibrant pictures for a better viewing experience. The sound range has been increased in part by taking the audio track straight from the studios.
All of these, of course, are to pave the way for Sky’s Ultra HD launch later this year.
Other films on the way next month include Minions Movie, Crimson Peak, Strange Magic, The Walk, Solace, Theeb, Everest, Me, Earl and the Dying girl, Tangerines, The Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Four Corners, Burnt and El Ardor.