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Disc and Digital Resonate With Sky TV Subscribers

25 Jul, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Sky Store driving digital and physical U.K. movie sales, including claims of top spot in first-week digital sales of Warner Bros.’ ‘The Lego Movie’

Lost in the hubbub of British Sky Broadcasting Group’s acquisition of Sky Italia and a majority stake in Sky Deutschland from 21st Century Fox, and whether Rupert Murdoch (who owns both companies) might use the $7.2 billion in cash to up his bid for Time Warner, is the fact Sky subscribers in the United Kingdom are gravitating toward digital sales with a side of DVD.

Satellite TV operator BSkyB’s digital sales platform — Sky Store — in April launched “Buy & Keep,” which enabled subscribers to purchase new-release digital movies and receive a DVD backup (no Blu-ray Disc) in the mail.

The result saw Sky Store double its fourth-quarter (ended June 30) revenue compared with the prior-year period — driven by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Frozen and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Captain Phillips, among others.

[Buy & Keep] has got off to a very strong start, achieving, for example, being the number one digital retailer for the Warner Bros.' blockbuster title The Lego Movie in its first week of sales,” BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch said in a July 25 statement.

The Lego Movie, which generated $468 million at the global box office, was released at retail in the U.S. June 17.

In addition, Sky said expanded boxed set offerings of “Game of Thrones,” “24” and “Grey’s Anatomy” have resonated with consumers, with each title registering 10 million downloads during the fiscal year.

Indeed, at the launch of “Buy & Keep,” Sky officials said the satellite TV operator commanded 40% of U.K. households and represented 50% of all packaged-media purchases.

“Our investment to increase take-up and usage of new connected TV services is delivering excellent results. After connecting 3 million [set-top] boxes this year, more than half of TV customers now have access to our market-leading on-demand services and the benefits are coming through in increased viewing, satisfaction and loyalty,” Darroch said.

Indeed, Sky added 76,000 video subscribers in the quarter to end the fiscal year with 10.6 million, compared with 10.4 million during the previous-year period. HD subscriptions increased by 129,000 members in the quarter to 5.2 million.

Sky has also entered into original programming with critically acclaimed Victorian thriller “Penny Dreadful” (co-produced with Showtime Networks) returning for a second season in 2015.

“Our investment in original British production, and particularly drama, has continued to deliver good results,” Darroch said.

At a special panel at San Diego Comic-Con International 2014, CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution announced Penny Dreadful: Season One would debut on Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 7 for $48.99 and $42.99, respectively.


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