Satellite broadcaster BSkyB now has over two million Sky+ digital video recorder boxes installed. Sky plans to allow recordings to be set over the web and to introduce push video-on-demand services. The company has also published new research on how Sky+ affects viewing behaviour.

The number of homes with Sky+ boxes rose by 50% over the previous year, putting Sky on track to reach a quarter of its 8.3 million subscribers well ahead of its original target of 2010.

“Passing the milestone of 2 million Sky+ boxes keeps us on track to break through our target of 25% penetration well ahead of schedule,” said Jeremy Darroch, the chief financial officer of Sky.

“Sky+ has changed the way millions of people watch TV,” he said. “In its own way, Sky+ has as dramatic an effect on the experience of TV as the iPod has with music. There’s no going back once you’ve experienced the ability to take control over the TV schedules and we’re planning new innovations in 2007 to make Sky+ even better.”

Later in the year, Sky subscribers will be able to set recordings on their Sky+ box using the Sky web site. They can already programme recordings by text message from their mobile phone.

Sky will also introduce a push video-on-demand service to enable subscribers to view a selection of programmes on demand. This will take advantage of extra storage capacity already reserved in more than a million Sky+ and Sky HD boxes.

Changing viewing
In Sky+ households, time-shift record and replay accounts for 22% of all viewing of programmes originally scheduled between 9pm and 10pm and 17% of those scheduled between 10pm and 11pm. Across all channels, time-shifting accounts for just over 12% of total viewing through Sky+ boxes.

Drama accounts for nearly 40% of all time-shifted viewing, followed by documentaries at just under 15%, entertainment at 13% and movies at 9.5%. Current affairs accounts for just 1.2% while news and weather represent just 0.6% of time-shifted viewing.

Nearly a third of viewing of the Fox FX channel is time-shifted in Sky+ homes, as is around a quarter of that for More 4 and the Hallmark channel.

The research is based on viewing in Sky+ homes from February to December 2006. The Sky View panel provides a robust measurement of actual viewing behaviour in a representative sample of 30,000 Sky homes.