Sky saw on-demand viewing soar to a record high in the second half of 2016.
The broadcaster’s latest report for the six months ending 31st December reveal that streaming and downloading through Sky’s platform hit a total of 2 billion – a record high.
The last year has seen the company place a growing emphasis on its Sky Box Sets collection, making an increasing number of TV shows available in full on-demand alongside the first episode of their linear broadcast. The Tunnel: Sabotage, Camping and Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters Series 2 were all released all-at-once. Two of the most high-profile shows to do so were HBO’s The Night Of and Showtime’s financial drama Billions.
Within a month, The Night Of was watched more than 2.5 million times through Sky’s platform in September 2016. By November, that rose to 5 million. Billions, meanwhile, was viewed more than 11 million times between its May premiere and the end of July.
Westworld was also a success for the broadcaster, with Episode 1 seeing more than 1.3 million viewers catching up on-demand in the week following its premiere – the most successful launch of a brand new series in Sky Atlantic’s history, including Season 1 of Game of Thrones and Fortitude.
The broadcaster is already doubling down on that focus on binge-watching, with a host of updates for its legacy Sky+ platform designed to encourage on-demand viewing, from auto play to Download Next, which automatically downloads the next episode in a series customers’ are watching. Sky has also put on-demand streaming at the centre of its new Sky Q premium platform.
“We have delivered a strong first half performance across the group, continue to make significant progress
against our strategy and remain on track for the full year,” said Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, in Sky’s official statement. “Across the half we have continued to drive customer and product growth in all our markets, adding over 500,000 new customers – faster growth than last year – and selling two million products. That means, in the past three years and since the Skys have come together, we’ve now added 2.5 million customers and total products are up almost 25%. This has resulted in sector leading revenue growth of 6% which we’ve achieved despite some pressure on discretionary consumer spending across Europe and a decline in the UK advertising market.”
The announcement arrives as Season 2 of Fortitude has just been released all-at-once on-demand, following the premiere of its first episode on Thursday 26th January.
Part of Sky’s success in recent years has also stemmed from the take-up of its contract-free streaming service, NOW TV, which gives live and on-demand online access to Sky’s main TV channels, such as Sky Atlantic, Sky 1, Sky Arts and FOX UK. Whether you’re a Sky customer or a NOW TV subscriber, see our guide to the best box sets available here.