Sky customers will soon be able to buy and keep films to watch on Sky+HD boxes devices in a challenge to Apple’s iTunes Store.
The buy-to-own service is set to launch within the next few weeks and will join movie rentals in the Sky Store part of the Sky Guide.
Speaking at the Guardian’s Changing Media Summit in London, Andrew Griffith, Sky chief financial officer said the service would be aimed at subscribers who had previously bought DVDs and videos but found it easier today to buy films online.
The satellite broadcaster is pitting itself not only against Apple, but also the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Blinkbox (owned by Tesco).
“Having made a strong start in rentals, we think we can go one step further and actually start offering customers the opportunity to purchase movies from us and keep them forever,” said Griffith.
He added that Sky’s access to more than 10 million TV customers and almost five million broadband customers makes it “extremely well positioned” to enter the market to take a share of a download-to-own market dominated by Apple’s iTunes and Google Play.
Griffith said the wide availability of broadband-connected Sky+HD boxes will enable it to combine the flexibility and the convenience of a digital store with instant access at the touch of a button.
Sky customers are currently receiving new versions of the onscreen Sky Guide and the Sky+ app, which promote on demand to the front page of the Sky viewing experience.
He added: “If you are going to target a big chunk of a £1.4 billion [DVD] market place, then we’d expect it to be a material opportunity.”
Pricing for the service, which will be available through the Sky+HD box, has yet to be decided.