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Sky Looking to Expand 'Buy & Keep' Digital Platform

15 Apr, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

As the satellite TV giant eyes an over-the-top future, it also seeks home entertainment retail opportunities

Satellite TV giant British Sky Broadcasting Group is looking to expand its over-the-top video presence throughout Europe in addition to further rollout of Sky Store, which sells and rents digital movies and TV shows.

Unique to Sky’s “Buy & Keep” platform, which is now available to all Sky subs in Britain and Ireland, is that digital purchases include a backup DVD sent in the mail.

CEO Jeremy Darroch revealed as much during an April 14 keynote address at MipTV in Cannes, France. Since acquiring controlling stakes in Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland last year, Sky envisions OTT video as a means of distributing original content into markets outside the United Kingdom void of pay-TV.

“While we have more than 20 million subscribers, there are something like 60 million homes that currently aren’t paying for premium TV. If we can convert even a relatively small percentage of those homes to Sky, there is huge potential for growth,” Darroch said.

It’s a strategy HBO, which is a distribution partner with Sky in the U.K., is exploring in the United States with HBO Now as it seeks to attract market share among 10 million broadband-only households.

Since launching a year ago in the U.K., Sky Store revenue is up 90% as it chases No. 1 Amazon in home entertainment retail, Darroch told a London media and telecom confab last month.

“Our Buy & Keep service was responsible for around a third of all Digital HD sales of X-Men: Days of Future Past (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), one of the biggest titles of 2014,” Darroch said. “We are exploring the potential to roll out in other markets.”

The CEO said Sky Store enables the satellite operator to capture market share in the U.K.’s £1.6 billion ($2.3 billion) home entertainment retail market.

“Until recently, we haven’t been able to access it,” Darroch said.

Sky and Fox are owned by 21st Century Fox.

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