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Sky's NOW TV streaming service coming to YouView

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NOW TV

© SKY

Sky will launch its new internet-delivered NOW TV service on YouView this summer, despite the satellite broadcaster previously opposing the BBC-backed set top box venture.

YouView chairman Lord Alan Sugar today (July 4) unveiled a £299 Humax-made YouView set top box, which will launch this month offering the Freeview channels and a range of IP-delivered, on-demand entertainment, such as BBC iPlayer and 4oD.

Lord Sugar stressed that the YouView launch offering is just a "carcass", meaning there is scale to introduce other services in the future.

This includes STV Player, the video on-demand service from Scottish broadcaster STV, along with Sky's NOW TV - both coming to the platform this summer.

NOW TV is a brand new internet TV streaming service from Sky that will aim to bring the firm's content to people who have so far resisted a pay-TV service, particularly the around 10 million homes that have subscription-free Freeview.

Anyone who buys a YouView box will be able to access NOW TV for pay-per-view Sky content, starting with Sky Movies but later expanding to entertainment and sport, possibly including Premier League football matches.

There will be no minimum contract and customers will be offered a range of pricing options, such as a pay-monthly for unlimited access to Sky Movies, or just pay-as-you-go content.

Youview set top box
"We know there's growing demand from UK consumers to access high-quality pay TV and internet-connected devices provide an innovative new way to help satisfy that demand," said Sky's NOW TV director Simon Creasey.

"We will launch NOW TV across a wide variety of platforms and devices to make it as easy and convenient for customers to access some of Sky's best content. We're excited about distributing our content on YouView and in giving current free-to-air homes a fresh new choice."

YouView chief executive Richard Halton added: "YouView is committed to providing the very best content and we've had over 300 expressions of interest from potential content partners. We're delighted that NOW TV and STV will join the line-up."

This marks an incredible turnaround for Sky, as the firm had previously been highly critical of YouView - formerly Project Canvas - and particularly accused the licence-fee-funded BBC of "mission creep" over its involvement in the project.

Alongside Virgin Media and other media firms, Sky was responsible for the regulatory challenges that dogged YouView in the early days and pushed back its launch from 2010 to now.

But Sky's stance changed after it announced that it would join YouView as a content partner - a wise move considering the project's estimated £45m marketing budget will help put its box in the homes of millions of UK consumers.

YouView
KPMG's head of media David Elms feels that, despite significant delays to YouView, the platform has got its "timing right", as internet streaming services are now becoming the norm for people.

"Our own research indicates that the appetite for online streaming services in the UK has been consistently on the rise, particularly among younger people," he said.

"Consumers, especially younger ones, are growing increasingly accustomed to catching up with previously screened content online. More importantly, viewers are increasingly prepared to pay for content when they want it.

"The growing awareness, usage and inclination to pay for content seems to indicate that YouView and other streaming services have got their timing right.

"The foundations for online streaming services to be successful appear to be set and these services will continue the evolution we are seeing in people's viewing habits and reinforce the strength of television."

Alongside YouView, Sky's NOW TV will also roll out this summer to a wide range of connected devices, including PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, games consoles and connected TVs.

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