Sky Christens True VOD Service ‘Sky Anytime+’ As ARPU Rockets

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Credit: AP Images

BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) will name its upcoming proper video-on-demand service Sky Anytime+ when it launches later this year.

Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) is already serving 68 million VOD views a month through its fibre optic cable service, and showing ads against some. But Sky, whose satellite network can’t deliver true on-demand programming, has been having to strike deals with third-party boxes to carry its Sky Player – Xbox, Windows Media Centre, FetchTV, Cell, 3View and Humax.

We have already reported that Sky intended to launch a true pull VOD service in 2010, using the unused Ethernet port in the back of its own HD boxes. CEO Jeremy Darroch confirmed the name “Sky Anytime+” in a call with analysts Thursday morning.

“It will be a broad offering at launch with a large range of content across the range of content that we show,” CEO Jeremy Darroch said. “(It will feature) progressive download using the broadband return pathway and the hard disc in a combined way. All of the boxes are VOD-ready, so we’ll be able to roll it out to all of the box population.”

The existing Sky Anytime pushes Sky’s own selection of shows to an unused half of customers’ PVR, for a pseudo VOD experience. Sky’s calling the update “a full broadband-enabled video-on-demand service”.

Results…

Sky operating profit in the nine months to March 31 rose four percent from last year to £645 million, on 10 percent higher revenue of £4.38 billion…

Sky’s motoring – average annual revenue per customer is up an impressive 11 percent from last year to £503, and 1.9 million of Sky’s 9.77 million now take TV, broadband and phone from Sky – up 39 percent.

Broadband sign-ups slowed to 101,000 from 130,000. From June, Sky will move to its fastest, 20Mbps package its broadband customers who are on its own network, but “pricing will varying according to usage” and, though the base pack will remain free, unlimited access will cost £7.50 a month. Sky halved its operating losses from its broadband network investments to £43 million.

TV: TV sign-ups up 76 percent to 428,000. Sky says it’s “widening the gap between pay and free”.

Results | Webcast | Slides

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