Sky’s Now TV broadband entertainment service will be a ‘semi-skimmed’ package of films, sports and on-demand entertainment when it goes live this summer.
Now TV is billed as ‘Summer 2012’ – a vague industry term that covers June to October – although it was scheduled for ‘first half of calendar 2012’ in Sky’s first quarter results in May.
Sky’s chief operating officer, Mike Darcey, told the Intellect Future of Entertainment Conference that Now TV will launch with movies, before adding sports and shows from Sky’s entertainment channels.
Darcey said: “ From this summer, viewers will have a choice of the ‘full fat’ Sky experience via satellite with HD and 3D and Sky+, or the lighter ‘semi-skimmed’ version from Now TV.
“There are 13.5 million homes in the UK who don’t take Sky, because of the dish, because of the 12-month contract, or because the bundles are too big.
“Some people just don’t want to pay for content, but most people are willing to pay for some kind of content on their own terms, and perhaps those terms haven’t come up so far.”
Darcey also denied that Now TV is a reaction to online film and TV services like Netflix and Lovefilm.
He said: “Some have said over-the-top internet TV looks like a threat to Sky, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. It looks like an exciting new technological advance, and I would tend to back Sky to do pretty well in that.
“Sky’s channels have been available over the internet since 2006. We also looked at something called Picnic over DTT for a while in 2006 and 2007, until that got parked by Ofcom. We’ve been thinking these thoughts long before Netflix came along. If anything, Now TV is Picnic for today’s technology, which is IP.”