Sky has outlined a string of updates for its stand-alone Now TV service, including an August launch for its ‘next generation’ Now TV Box and a new pay-monthly sports option.
The new Sky Sports Month Pass will launch in time for the start of the new football season in August and will be priced at £31.99 (US$50.34) per-month.
This expands on the day- and week-pass sports options that Sky currently offers for £6.99 and £10.99 respectively.
Sky said the new Now TV Box will include an ethernet port – to support wired as well as wireless connections – and a processor that it claims is five times faster than in the current generation of Now TV Box, which first went on sale in July 2013.
The new box, which Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch first alluded to back in February, will go on sale in August priced at £14.99.
A third update for Now TV will be a new user interface that will be rolled out across Now TV-supported devices over the coming months.
Sky said the new interface will make it “quicker and easier for customers to get to the channels and content they want” and that more updates will be rolled out later in the year – including improved search.
Also on the roadmap is an auto-play function to automatically play the next episode of a series, and the ability to tag, save and find favourite shows.
“Now TV has established real momentum since it launched nearly three years ago. The acceleration in our customer growth shows Now TV is attracting customers in a way that is complementary, not at odds, with the Sky TV service,” said Sky’s chief marketing and digital officer, Stephen van Rooyen.
“As with the Sky platform we are committed to constant improvement so we can produce the best experience for customers as well as developing exciting new services and features for them to enjoy.”
Sky first launched its over-the-top Now TV service in July 2012, and now offers Sky Movies, Sky Sports, and Entertainment packages on a flexible, no-contract basis.
Sky claims that more than 90% of customers had never considered Sky before signing up with Now TV, that almost 30% of Now TV customers buy more than one pass each month, and that the average Now TV Entertainment pass customer watches more than five hours per week.
“Almost 40% of Now TV customers also subscribe to Netflix and around 20% use it alongside Amazon Prime. Now TV differentiates itself because Sky’s investment in content means it can offer more of the latest TV shows as well as twice as many of the recent blockbusters as those services combined,” said Sky.