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Broadband connections are changing our TV viewing habits - Sky CEO

Wednesday, March 18th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Connecting customers’ TV boxes to broadband has had a “dramatic” impact on viewing habits, according to Sky’s CEO.

Jeremy Darroch said the number of programmes downloaded through Sky’s On Demand service had risen by 40% year-on-year.

Mr Darroch was speaking at the Media & Telecoms Conference in London yesterday (March 17).

He said around two thirds of Sky’s UK customers were now connected and that On Demand users "have become our best advocates”.

“They are more loyal, more satisfied and more likely to recommend Sky,” he said.

Mr Darroch told the conference there was “substantial headroom” for growth in the pay-TV market that Sky was looking to exploit using both its satellite and Now TV platforms.

“With more than 60 million households to go for, the potential here is very attractive,” he said.

“Building on the strong demand we see today, we will use the combination of [these] services to target different groups of customers and open up new areas of growth.”

He said Sky was creating new services to reach new customers in the UK as well as in Germany and Italy, where the firm completed takeovers four months ago.

“In all our markets, we now have streaming products that suit the needs and preferences of people who like our content but want to consume it in a different way.”

Movie rentals

Mr Darroch said Now TV is performing well as part of Sky’s approach to “segmenting the market” as it is aimed at “a very different customer to Sky”.

“In each market, the plan is to make our own streaming box an important part of the offering, building on the success of the Now TV box in the UK.”

He said Sky would also use its strengths in cross-selling to target existing customers with new products.

“All the evidence is that customers have a strong appetite to take more from Sky. And we see significant scope to go further, whether in TV, communications or transactional services.”

Mr Darroch said the launch of the Sky Store allowed Sky to compete for movie rentals and purchases – a market worth an estimated £1.6bn a year in the UK.

“All of this is possible because of the investment in our On Demand platform.

“With Sky Store revenues up by 90% year-on-year, we are starting to see the benefits flow through. And we are exploring the potential to roll out in other markets.”

Cable.co.uk reported last week that Now TV was available on EE TV, with customers able to buy a monthly pass to watch entertainment or movies, or a daily or weekly pass for sports content.

Earlier this year, Sky secured the rights to 75% of the Premier League matches that will be televised over the 2016-2019 seasons – the largest possible number of games – in a £5.13bn deal that also saw BT win the rights to 42 games.

The bidding included the rights to up to 10 Friday night matches and saw Sky increase its number of games from 116 to 126.

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