Sky embraces binge-watching with new updates
James R | On 03, Mar 2016
Sky is embracing binge-watching with a string of new updates for its Sky+ platform.
The broadcaster has placed a growing emphasis in the last year on “box sets” of shows available to watch on-demand, but its infrastructure was not designed with Netflix-style binge sessions in mind, as viewing habits evolved and, eventually, outgrew Sky’s satellite-era system. Indeed, early this year, Sky unveiled Sky Q, a new, premium version of its set top box designed to march modern audience behaviour, with the ability to download videos for offline streaming, as well as hop between devices and resume viewing from the point you left off.
Now, it’s turning its attention to its legacy platform. The software update makes navigation “quicker and simpler”, with the option of downloading complete box sets for bingeing. Customers can select to move a full series into their Planner, with the first two episodes downloading automatically. A “Watch Next” option towards the end of a show will also let customers jump straight to the next episode, if they’ve downloaded the whole series and, if you decide to keep watching by pressing the green button, the next episode will play immediately.
The new features are rolling out as Sky increasingly makes whole shows available at the same time as they’re on TV: taking a leaf out of Netflix’s book, all episodes of The Tunnel, Sabotage and Billions will be available to stream at the same time as the first episode premieres on Sky Atlantic. Current shows also following this box set model include The Knick and Alan Partridge’s Mid-Morning Matters, with both available in full for Sky Box Sets customers to stream.
Michele Swaine, Director of Product Development, comments: “We’re introducing even more features that reflect the changing TV habits of our customers. Up to 95 per cent of viewing of dramas, for example, can take place after the episode is shown live as people increasingly choose to enjoy shows on demand. We’re committed to giving customers the choice of how they enjoy the shows they love whether that’s live TV or moving from episode to episode of your favourite box set.”