BSkyB, Britain’s dominant pay-TV group, is to launch an online offering to enable it to better take on the likes of Lovefilm and Netflix, following some signs of slowing growth at its main satellite business. BSkyB said today it would launch the new service to tap in to the 13 million homes which do not pay for its television service, offering movies and sports without the need for a contract or satellite dish.
BSkyB made the announcement as it revealed it had added 40,000 net new customers to its main TV service in the second quarter, slightly below expectations despite being helped by strong customer loyalty. BSkyB said instead of investing in its own fibre network it would use BT Group’s superfast infrastructure known as BT Infinity on a wholesale basis to offer its customers speeds of 40 megabits per second. The faster broadband speeds, which have proved popular with customers of rival Virgin Media, could help compliment BSkyB’s push in watching more content online.
BSkyB has offered its own customers the opportunity to watch programming online before, but the push to offer its content to non-Sky customers is a new tactic for the group. It follows the recent launch of the US online DVD rental company Netflix Inc in Britain and Ireland, which prompted Amazon-owned rival Lovefilm to offer a new cut-price service. BSkyB has not yet set out its pricing plans.
The new offering will launch in the first half of 2012 and will enable customers to watch Sky content including movies and eventually sports on a range of flexible tariffs and without signing a contract.