BSkyB has launched two new services aimed at providing its 8m subscribers increased choice in how, when and where they watch television.
Sky said the new services, 'Sky by broadband' and 'Sky by mobile', would give customers more flexibility, and pave the way to them being able to control their Sky+ personal video recorders via mobile phones and PCs.
The services are free to existing Sky subscribers in the UK and Irish Republic taking two or more premium channels, or in the case of Sky by mobile, have a registered Sky Bet account.
Sky said the innovations followed growing evidence that consumers wanted to take control of their TV viewing and access media content in different ways.
Launching the services at a presentation in London's West End, Sky chief operating officer Richard Freudenstein said 47% of Sky customers had broadband-connected PCs.
The Sky by broadband service offers full-length movies and sport programming as legal downloads in the Microsoft Windows Media 10 file format.
More than 200 movies are available from launch including Spider-Man 2 and The Day After Tomorrow, plus cult-classic Sky Movies titles from Alien: The Director's Cut to Dr Strangelove. Sky said the number of titles would increase over time to encompass over a thousand titles from the Sky Movies catalogue.
Movies are searched by genre and an A-Z index. Downloaded movies will remain on a user's PC hard drive—only one PC can be registered per Sky account—for 30 days, then it will expire. Customers will not be able to burn movies onto DVDs or transfer them to other devices.
The broadband service also includes more than 1,000 Sky Sports video clips, including highlights of every Barclays Premiership and UEFA Champions League match.
An entertainment package is due to be offered later in 2006 based on content from Sky One.
The Sky by mobile service gives Sky digital and Sky Bet customers access to Sky entertainment, sports, news and weather on the move. The service includes:
The Sky by mobile service is available across multiple networks on a range of compatible handsets with internet access via GPRS or 3G.
Freudenstein said: "Families' entertainment needs are changing fast and audiences increasingly expect to be able to access content whenever and wherever they want.
"From today a Sky digital subscription includes the PC and mobile phone as well as the TV. We are giving millions of viewers the ability to download movies legally or to keep up with Sky on the move."
Sky did not provide further details of its recent £211m acquisition of broadband provider Easynet, which was was waved through at Christmas by the Office of Fair Trading. The move gives Sky a position in the UK's rapidly growing broadband internet market, and will in time allow a more extensive broadband distribution strategy for its pay-TV content.
Last month Sky announced it had passed its long-held target of 8m direct-to-home customers. Its medium-term goal is to reach 10m subscribers in 2010, with 25% penetration for Sky+ and 30% penetration for Sky Multiroom, the additional Sky set-top box service.
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