BSkyB unveils Sky Anytime+ launch date and strong Q1 results

BSkyB is to roll out Sky Anytime+, the company’s internet delivered video-on-demand (VoD) service from Tuesday (October 26).

The launch date comes as Sky’s latest trading update for the 3 months ending 30 September shows the company added 96,000 new TV customers in the quarter, taking the total customer base to 9.956 million.

The quarter also saw continued growth in the other products and services Sky offers, particularly Sky Broadband and Sky+HD. Sky also launched Europe’s first residential 3D TV channel, Sky 3D, during the quarter.

Sky+HD set-top boxes are able to connect to the Sky Broadband network to access a full on-demand service to complement Sky+ and the existing Sky Anytime ’push’ VoD service.

Connected customers have the opportunity to access an updating library of content which they can ’pull’ to their TVs to watch whenever they like.

The service is free to Sky subscribers and offers content from Sky Movies, Sky Sports, Sky Arts and Sky 1 alongside a wide range of programming from third party channels. The on-demand library will continue to build over the coming months.

Sky Anytime+ works on a “progressive download” basis which means content becomes available to view before it has fully downloaded. For most customers this means content is ready to watch in less than a minute.

Stephen van Rooyen, Sky deputy MD of marketing, says: “Sky Anytime+ demonstrates the benefit of being able to use the best combination of distribution platforms in delivering what our customers want.

“We’re introducing Sky Anytime+ against the backdrop of another really strong quarter for Sky Broadband with our fastest growth in over two years. Customers are responding to our mix of high quality, great value broadband products. At the same time we continue to increase the number of our TV customers, with millions now opting to take our state-of-the-art Sky+HD box.”

The majority of Sky’s HD boxes will be ready to receive the Anytime+ service by the end of the year with the remaining boxes to follow in a phased roll out through the first part of 2011.

The service comes ahead of the launch of YouView, the on-demand TV service being put together by BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 Five, BT, Arqiva and TalkTalk. Of com has just dismissed calls for an investigation into YouView under the Competition Act.

News Corp is currently in negotiations to make a full takeover of Sky although rival media groups are asking business secretary Vince Cable to intervene in the deal.

Nick Bell, analyst at Jeffries says: “Sky reported strong Q1 FY’11 results this morning ahead of consensus on all metrics but we expect near term focus to continue to remain on the developments of the News Corp bid and whether Vince Cable will decide to refer the case to Ofcom, which we view as increasingly likely.”

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