Sky will launch a pay-as-you-go film, sport and TV service online this Summer, called Now TV, in a direct assault on Netflix and Lovefilm.
The service will be available across computers, connected TVs, tablets, smartphones and games consoles with a wide range of Sky content.
It will launch with hundreds of films from Sky Movies and will expand to include entertainment and sports from Sky’s TV channels.
There will be no minimum contract with payment options from monthly Sky Movies subscriptions to pay-as-you-go for individual films, TV shows and events.
Sky’s chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, said: "We’ll offer two distinctive ways to watch: the market-leading full Sky service for the whole family, complete with the widest range of channels, high quality products like Sky+, HD and Sky Go, and the peace of mind of a monthly bill; or the flexible, more spontaneous, pay-as-you-go service of Now TV.
"Because Now TV will also be ‘powered by Sky’, customers will still know that it will give them the best, exclusive content and a high quality experience, from a provider they can trust. Either way, we believe we can offer even more customers a product that’s just right for them.”
Sky for the ‘now’ generation
Now TV is aimed at hoovering up some of the 13 million UK homes which don’t currently use a traditional pay-TV service.
Sky promised to wrap Now TV in an ‘intuitive’ interface with ‘immediate’ streaming - which may mean popular content is cached on users’ devices to mask buffering as it downloads, similar to the ‘progressive download’ system on Anytime+.
"Now TV will be available on a wide range of devices and offer instant access to a range of high quality Sky content, with no install and no contract,” Darroch added. “Starting with movies, it will soon expand to offer sport and entertainment as well. And customers will be able to pay monthly or rent a movie on a simple, pay as you go basis.
“As the quality of the TV experience over broadband has improved, people have become more willing to consume content in different ways.
"That presents a great opportunity to distribute our programmes which wasn’t there even a year or two ago. With the long-awaited explosion of connected devices now upon us, this opportunity is only going to grow. And it’s something we believe is highly complementary to our existing service.”