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UK pay TV platform leader BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) will take a bold step for its upcoming satellite-less, over-the-internet TV packages by launching them under a whole new brand, “Now TV”.
“The launch of a second brand is an exciting opportunity for us and the rationale is very simple. Having two brands will allow us to meet the needs and preferences of different customer segments more effectively,” CEO Jeremy Darroch told The Guardian’s Changing Media Summit on Wednesday.
“We’ll offer two distinctive ways to watch: the market-leading full Sky service for the whole family, complete with the widest range of channels, high quality products like Sky+, HD and Sky Go, and the peace of mind of a monthly bill; or the flexible, more spontaneous, pay-as-you-go service of NOW TV.
“Because NOW TV will also be ‘powered by Sky’, customers will still know that it will give them the best, exclusive content and a high quality experience, from a provider they can trust. Either way, we believe we can offer even more customers a product that’s just right for them.”
The Now TV placeholder website is now live, taking consumers’ expressions of interest.
Darroch did not exactly specify why Sky needs a separate brand in over-the-top (OTT). But it may be about balancing caution with the brave new connected TV opportunity. If Sky branded its new OTT service “Sky” and made it cheaper, disgruntled satellite subscribers may downgrade to the OTT option.
Another company which span off a separate entertainment brand last year was Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), which caused controversy when it created “Qwikster” to operate its DVD rental business separate from its streaming business.
After pioneering pay TV in the UK two decades ago, Sky last year hit its target of achieving 10 million customers for its satellite pay service. Satellite customers now get access to their channel bouquets through Sky web, mobile app and connected TV app channels.
But this January Sky said it would now offer its channels without a long-term contract and without satellite to customers over an array of internet devices, including connected TV and iPad. Packages will be movies, entertainment and sport, but the firm may also peel off individual shows for payment.
“The long-awaited explosion of connected devices is now upon us,” Darroch said. “This opportunity will only grow. It can be very complementary to our service.
Thirteen million homes don’t take pay TV from any provider – we can reach out to them.
“Any notion Sky is still just a satellite broadcaster should have well and truly gone out the window by now.”