In a week that has demonstrated how our viewing habits are changing, Sky has just announced a new service to stream content to mobile phones and tablets.
The move is an expansion of Sky’s already popular Sky Go, which lets you “watch TV you love on the move”.
Users can pay £5 per month to add Sky Go Extra to their subscription. Up to four people will then be able to download on-demand movies and TV content.
There are time limits, with each download remaining watchable for a month. But Sky isn’t imposing limits on the amount of content you can download – that simply depends on how much your device can hold. Depending on what gizmo you’re downloading to, that could mean up to 80 movies or 400 television programmes every month.
It means once users have downloaded their favourite television shows and movies, they can watch them offline when they don’t have a WiFi connection.
It’s perhaps little wonder then that while Sky’s download service is on the up, that the most traditional of places to pick up something to view at home has fallen by the wayside.
Sky’s announcement it is extending its services comes as Blockbuster slipped into administration.
While Blockbuster used to be the place to go to choose a Saturday night movie, now movie buffs don’t have to leave the comfort of their own home to choose a film.
The latest move by Sky will further increase pressure on rivals including Amazon’s Lovefilm and Netflix as, along with the content Sky secures from movie studios, there are all the programmes the broadcasting giant makes itself.
It also puts Sky in direct competition with Google’s Play store and Apple’s iTunes services.
Currently, Sky offers more than two-thirds of the top 100 films around six months after they are shown at the cinema, more than other subscription services combined.
And the broadcaster is pulling out all the stops, offering a two-month free trial to all of its subscribers in a bid to draw them away from other on-demand platforms.
The firm also believes the service offers better value for money than services such as Apple’s iTunes, which charges users for every item they download, although users do then get to keep their content for as long as they want.
Sky’s Brand Director for TV products Luke Bradley-Jones said: “The way customers are thinking about the whole TV experience is changing again and it’s ultimately all about the content – however people want to watch it.”
He said even Sky had been taken aback by the popularity of its Sky Go service, adding: “There has been a massive shift in behaviour from consumers due to content on demand.”
And he compared the move to the introduction by Sky of live pause and rewind.
Bradley-Jones added: “We’re connecting our customer’s boxes to the internet, and consumption habits shift dramatically – and it’s not all driven by the juggernaut of iPlayer, it shifts the shape of people’s viewing habits.
“Being connected drives extra value for us customers, and really help people watch whenever they want – this is really the final piece of the puzzle.”