Sky to launch terrestrial pay TV service

BSkyB is launching a pay TV service on digital terrestrial television (DTT) this summer to combat the platform’s rapid rise…


BSkyB is launching a pay TV service on digital terrestrial television (DTT) this summer to combat the rapid rise of Freeview.

The service will also allow Sky to show its Premiership football packages on the platform used by Freeview. Rival Setanta Sports has already agreed to show its Premiership football matches on DTT. Setanta won the rights to some Premiership packages after the European Union said Sky’s stronghold should be broken.

The satellite broadcaster’s three free-to-air channels Sky Three, Sky News and Sky Sports News will be scrapped to provide space for the subscription service, which will also include popular Sky shows and movies.

The announcement comes on the day that rival Virgin Media rebrands from NTL:Telewest.

Freeview says it is in 9.3 million homes, while Sky has 8.3 million subscribers.

A Sky spokesman says it aims to create more choice for customers wanting to upgrade from free-to-air to pay-TV.

The line-up will include sports, movies, entertainment and news content. The sports service will include live coverage from the Barclays Premiership and other top events. Full details, including branding, pricing and the complete channel line-up, will be revealed closer to launch. The new customers would be "over and above" current growth plans for its satellite service.

To access the service, customers will need a new set-top box. The launch is subject to regulatory approval.

Live Premiership football and other Sky content were available on DTT from 1998 to 2002.

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