Now TV launches tomorrow (17 July) and allows consumers to buy a £15 a month “pass” for access to more than 600 films from Sky Movies’ catalogue on their iPads, laptops and PCs, Android and iPhone smartphones and XBox 360. Customers can also “pay and play” for access to more than 1,000 individual titles, priced from 99p for classic movies and up to £3.49 for the latest blockbusters.
Later this year Sky will also be building in live content from Sky Sports and programmes from channels such as Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts and Sky Living, although price plans have not been revealed for this additional access.
Now TV is entering an increasingly crowded internet TV market which includes players such as LoveFilm, Netflix and Blinkbox.
Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s managing director of sales and marketing, told Marketing Week Now TV is being positioned differently to other Sky products as it looks to appeal to the 13 million people in the UK who do not subscribe to TV services such as its own, or Virgin Media and BT Vision.
A “heavy weight” ad campaign is being created by V3 and WCRS to appear after the Olympics in September, using the strapline “Instant TV loveliness”.
Van Rooyen says: “We like to think that Sky TV has a great sheen and a lot of class, where the quality of our offer is never in doubt; Now TV will have a more quirky brand style.
“In research, customers said Now TV made them feel like they could treat themselves with Sky TV in a non-guilty way. In a way the tone of voice is quite Innocent Smoothie-ish – cool and fun.”
He adds that while TV is still the “most effective” way to educate a large number ofconsumers about Now TV, the different business model and tone of the brand gives Sky the the opportunity to market the service in different places than usual. Digital, for example, is likely to be a key pillar of Now TV’s marketing activity as the platform allows the brand immediacy and the opportunity to be “spontaneous”.
Some observers have commented that Now TV could cannibalise Sky’s existing subscribers. Ted Hall, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media, says Now TV represents a “potentially dangerous” move away from the bundled approach to selling pay TV to an “a la carte model”, which could lead many to question why they need a traditional subscription when the option to pay for only the content they actually want is available as an over the top alternative.
Van Rooyen disagrees with this view and said Now TV will “complement” the existing Sky TV offer, which he claims has the lowest churn rate in the world. Sky has 10.3 million TV subscribers, according to its latest financial report for the nine months to 31 March.
“For us we think [Sky TV and Now TV customers] are two different markets – we don’t see this as people downgrading from Sky, more that people will upgrade from Freeview,” he adds.
Now TV is also set to appear on YouView set top boxes when they become available at the end of the month. Like YouView, Now TV is not set build in advertising against its film catalogue and home screens, but it is set to allow brands to advertise against some of its on demand content in pre-roll formats. TV adverts will also appear against the live content Now TV offers.