It’s a moment that every football (soccer) fan has dreamed about, broadcaster BSkyB has announced it will finally make its sports channels available for non-Sky TV subscribers, after revealing plans to offer a pay-as-you-go package via its Web-based Now TV service. The extension to cover sports had been planned for some time, and was teased as ‘coming soon’ when Now TV was first unveiled last year.
The Guardian reports that the move will allow access to all six of its sports channels for a flat-rate of £9.99 ($15.80) per day, on top of the £14.99 ($27.30) per month cost for Now TV. That gives sports fans in the UK a cheaper and more flexible alternative to spending upwards of £42.50 ($67.20) per month on a minimum 12-month Sky TV subscription.
While English Premier League football is the jewel in Sky’s broadcasting crown, the flat-rate will cover other sports and one-off events, such as golf championships, Formula One grand prix, cricket matches and more.
Now TV is Sky’s answer to the growth in subscription-based Internet movie and video, and the service was first announced in March 2012. However it has struggled in the face of stern competition and had attracted an initial 25,000 customers as of December. Now, with Sky dangling what is arguably its most tempting carrot, Now TV will be significantly more appealing for millions of sports fanatics in the country.
This is move is progress but it isn’t clear whether that will reel in the masses. Adding together the ongoing subscription cost with just two full days of sports access, for example, is nearly £35.00 ($55.40) for a month. That isn’t far short of a basic Sky TV package and, while Now TV comes without a long-term commitment, it doesn’t appear to yet offer the kind of value that makes it a no-brainer for all sports fans.
It is, however, a step in the right direction and, for existing Now TV customers, it provides an interesting new possibility. When split between friends, for example, the potential of one day of sports programming becomes even more appealing and cost friendly.
Sky’s premium service has more than million customers in the UK, of which 4.56 million are HD TV customers. Interestingly, one third of its user base has a ‘triple play’ deal — offering TV, Internet and phone — with the broadcaster,according to The Guardian.
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