Satellite broadcaster BSkyB is rebranding its Sky by Broadband video download service as Sky Anytime and is adding Sky One shows and pay-per-view premium movies to the programming line-up. The Sky Anytime brand will also be applied to the Sky by Mobile service.
Episodes of the third series of Lost are available for download after broadcast, priced at £2.50 each, allowing unlimited viewing on the same computer.
Sky acquired Lost after outbidding Channel 4 and other broadcasters in the United Kingdom with an offer of nearly £1m an episode. The programme was seen by up to 1.5 million viewers on Sky One, around half of the audience the second series received on Channel 4.
From next year, in a move supported by the major American studios, Sky will air episodes of its top acquisitions within days of their first broadcast in the United States, to counter the problem of people downloading illicit copies from the internet.
The Sky Anytime service will offer a legitimate alternative for those that may have missed a programme, although it is only available to Sky subscribers.
Sky Anytime will also provide a new Sky Box Office service of over thirty premium movies at any time. These will be available at £3.95 each to download. Users will be able to keep them on their computer for up to seven days with unlimited plays for 48 hours after the first viewing.
“We already know our customers have a significant appetite for movies and sport via broadband, with more than a million downloads since the service launched in January this year,” said Griffin Parry, Sky’s director of broadband and mobile. “Sky Anytime is core to our plan to deliver entertainment on demand across platforms, making it easier for Sky TV customers to enjoy whatever they want, wherever they want.”
The download service was recently suspended following a breach of the Microsoft digital rights management software used by the service. Microsoft has patched its system, but some experts now view it as critically compromised.
The relaunch of the Sky Anytime service follows the launch of a Channel 4 service that will make most of its programming available online for download up to 30 days after transmission.