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Sky preps internet TV in Germany, Italy

sky italia hqFollowing its initial debut in the UK, Sky plans offer internet-delivered versions of its TV service in its other European markets as part of broader growth plans.

Speaking on the company’s earnings call yesterday, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said that, over time, it aimed to reach and address an estimated 6 million customers in Europe that do not have a satellite dish.

Sky said its new broadband-based service will “open up new headroom for growth” with Darroch commenting that Italy and Germany launches will closely follow Sky’s planned 2018 debut for the satellite-free service in the UK.

“Over time, we will launch this service in our other markets, building on our position as Europe’s leading OTT provider,” said Sky in yesterday’s earnings announcement.

The company also said that plans to roll out Sky Q to our other markets are “on track”, having debuted the advanced TV offering in the UK and Ireland last February. It is an IP-delivered version of this service that Sky plans to launch in the UK via set-top boxes next year.

Separately pay TV operator also revealed a number of other plans for the coming year, including launching its Sky Kids app and in Germany and Austria and extending its streaming service, Sky Ticket, to more devices and platforms.

“We will broaden our business further by launching our movie transactional service, Sky Store, in Germany and fully roll-out our targeted advertising service, Sky Adsmart, in Italy and Ireland,” according to Sky.

It also said that it will launch voice search on Sky Q and add a number of new features for Sky+ box customers in the UK and Ireland – such as personalised movie recommendations and a new search function.

On the content front, Sky said it is going to be its “biggest year on screen” and will have 100 series in production, totalling over 1,000 hours.

This will encompass 15 dramas, including what Sky described as its “most ambitious production to date”, Britannia, which is about the Roman conquest of Britain in 43AD.  

Speaking on Sky’s earnings call yesterday, company CEO Darroch said that if Sky’s carriage dispute with Discovery results in the latter’s channels leaving its platform, it will also reinvest the money it will have saved “back into other quality content, probably with more of a local focus here in the UK.”

Commenting on Sky’s internet-delivered TV plans, Berenberg Media said in an analyst note this morning that satellite delivery, as a fixed-cost solution, remains a good option for wide coverage and that Sky’s UK contracts with satellite operator SES run until mid-2022.

“While this [a dish-free service] may sound scary, we do not think it changes the fact that satellite remains a crucial broadcast infrastructure in the UK, and is likely to remain so for many years to come,” said the note.