Tightening its vice-like grip on movie content in the UK, Sky has announced a new deal with Sony Pictures Television that will allow its Sky Movies and Now TV customers to enjoy exclusive access to the studio’s blockbuster movies six months after they hit theaters, offering films like Django Unchained, This is the End and After Earth for at least a year before its UK rivals.
The partnership will see Sky Movies customers gain access to Sony Pictures’ back catalog of hit movies — which includes the Spiderman Trilogy — also becoming available on its Internet-TV service Now TV, if they subscribe to a Sky Movies monthly pass.
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It’s a blow for Netflix and Amazon’s LoveFilm, which are rapidly expanding their own catalogs (Netflix is also investing in original content), but find themselves unable to match the buying power of its BSkyB-owned rival.
In September 2012, Sky signed a similar movie deal with Warner Bros., adding films like Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and The Dark Knight Rises to its catalog. It later added all eight of the Harry Potter films, just in time for the Christmas holidays.
Earlier today, we reported that Sky would add Premiership football and other major sporting events to its Now TV service for a flat rate of £9.99 a day. While expensive, the addition of one-off fees for sporting events could see Sky push revenues higher, as sports fans connect to the service on their smartphone, tablet and PC to watch their favorite teams and sports stars while they are on the move.
Sky says all movies will be available on demand, via its Sky Go service, in both HD and 3D (if supported), while Sky Go users can download content to their smartphone, tablet or computer for an extra £5 per month. Those that subscribe to Virgin Media, UPC and TalkTalk are also able to enjoy the new movies via a dedicated Sky Movies subscription.