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Sky's Pending Movie Store Will Include Discs as Backup to Digital

2 Apr, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Satellite TV operator says consumers want safeguards of packaged media

As expected, BSkyB’s planned digital movie store will include DVD (no Blu-ray) as backup to electronic sellthrough purchases.

When launched, the satellite TV operator’s “Buy & Keep” service will offer about 200 titles — most on street date — from 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., among others. The Sky Store currently has about 1,400 titles available for transactional VOD rental.

Titles, which include The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Turbo, Life of Pi and The Wolverine, will range in price from £13.99 ($23.27) for new releases to £7.99 ($13.30) for catalog.

Sky is the largest commercial pay-TV operator in the United Kingdom, with more than 10 million subscribers. While digital distribution of entertainment is growing in the U.K., consumer adoption and confidence with digital remains low. Including a DVD delivered in the mail with electronic purchases is seen as insurance, according to Nicola Bamford, Sky Store director.

“This hybrid [disc/digital] model is really important,” Bamford told a media event. “Sometimes it’s very easy to think about London and Netflix and all of our streaming services and go, ‘DVDs – why?’ We’ve done a huge amount of consumer research … and time and time again our customers go, ‘Great, I get it, I like the immediacy’ but they also like that peace of mind of having that original DVD as an insurance policy.”

Packaged media generated about £1.4 billion ($859 million) in revenue in the U.K. in 2013 — easily dwarfing EST and subscription streaming.

Ian Lewis, content acquisitions director at Sky Store, said Sky subscribers are huge consumers of entertainment, including representing 50% of all packaged media purchases in the U.K.

“Sky Store’s buy-and-keep proposition really gives our customers the ability to widen their choice in terms of not just what films they want but how and when they watch those films. It also gives an opportunity to bring films into Sky homes even closer to the theatrical releases,” Lewis said.


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